Monday, November 23, 2009
My favorate Christmas tree!
Today was a wonderful day for me. It was a day of firsts. There is too much to report so I will pick only one project.
We had the privilege of going to visit the little’s boys in the foster program for the first time. We have just recently funded this program. I had no clue what to expect. These little guys have been horribly abused by international pedophiles. More than the girls they are shamed in the most profound way in this society thus heaping coals on the devastation they have already experienced. They are, on occasion, deliberately targeted by the perpetrators because boys are so ashamed they will not tell anyone. There is simply nowhere for them to turn. The foster program is the first and only in the country for boys.
There have been real behavioral issues and three of the boys have just recently returned after running away this week. This is very tough work dealing with children this messed up. I was thrilled to find that they would sit with us. They are lovely little guys that just need so much emotional intensive care. I talked to them introducing my Canadian friends and telling them I had brought a real big singer from Canada to sing to them. And then another first… I watched Paul Brandt work his magic with kids. And Magic it was! He sang his song “Didn’t even see the dust”. A real “boys” song.
(Youtube link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFgdA856te0 )
The song starts off low and quiet and then just explodes with the word “shotgun…”. It was a thrill to watch the boy’s reaction. They simply dissolved in laughter. Paul just loved this and was on his feet engaging with them as he sang. They shook with laughter and hid their faces. Not totally sure how to read the reaction except to say it was very positive but I think they may have felt self conscious because of their laughter so they hid there faces in their shirts and hands. We all laughed with them. It was a very precious time.
It was then there turn to sing to us which they did with enthusiasm. It was thrilling to see them interact and to honour them with Paul, the famous singer from Canada, who had come to sing just for them. Very very cool. Next was a tour of their rooms and kitchen. Currently there are nine boys three to a room. They showed us their closets with all their cloths neatly folded and their Christmas decorations up already!). In one room the three little guys had made a Christmas tree all by them selves. I confess it was the most beautiful Christmas tree I think I have ever seen!
The smiles and fun camouflage the realities of their lives which are very difficult. I know the background of some of these little boys and it does not bear repeating here save to say they have suffered terribly and have much to overcome. They are currently under significant security restrictions since many of them are involved in the legal process where they are the key victim witnesses. This is a traumatic process in itself but in Cambodia it is compounded by the fact that judges have been known to literally laugh boys out of court. The shame in this society is overwhelming.
We need to pray for these little lives. I would love to show you photos but none were taken since these poor kids have been photographed many times before under terrible conditions so we were not about to whip out the cameras and re traumatize them. Also they cannot be photographed for security reasons.
The one photo exception is the Christmas tree which will have to represent these little ones for now. (If I had time this photo would become a Ratanak Christmas card – it represents so much hope in little broken lives.)
Anyway I’m tired and will leave it at that for today.