Breakfast at 0650. Breakfast is interesting. No longer a buffet, but a selection of about fifteen different choices, including scrambled eggs, congee, fried rice, fried vegetables, etc. Good tea and coffee like molasses (but I drink it; actuallly I drink a cup of tea for enjoyment and then a cup of this industrial-strength coffee to help ward of the ever-threatening migraine).
We don't linger. We have to be out at the van with our packs and our water and our other stuff (and I have all these medical supplies and equipment that are never far from my side) at 0730. Then we are on our way through the city and out to Svay Pak. I love the ride. The driver never takes his eyes off the road, never drives faster (or slower) than about 30 mph and somehow negotiates the chaos on the streets: pedestrians, motos (by the thousands), cars, animals, trucks, more motos, all in this seemingly tangled mess of traffic that somehow WORKS. Sometimes we gasp or moan at the near misses, but I have yet to see an accident.
Other than a few cuts, scrapes, some unsettled stomachs and Mary's adventure yesterday, we are an amazingly healthy group. This is so wonderful.
We have a terrific group:
Grant - our fearless leader
Mary - full of grace and humour and works like a dog
Pablo - just like Mary: these two people are incredible
Kit - hanging in there, at 103 years old, usually seen lost, looking for her key (or her pack or her hat or whatever, and usually smiling like an idiot , filled with joy at being here)
From St. John's:
Jan - as with Mary; our room mate - a lovely person, and a hard worker
Karol - age 19, UBC student. His parents should be proud. What a great person, and he worked with College Pro, which means he is the expert in the group. I told him I planned to adopt him (despite the fact he has marvelous parents whom he rather likes). He did not look too thrilled re my plans.
Chris - Six feet, one inch tall. Perfect for finishing off those painting details none of the rest of us can reach. A gentleman and a gentle man.
Graham - a worker bee. He has truly endeared himself to us all.
And from Australia:
Steve: When people talk about a 'sweet spirit' they are talking about people like Steve
George: a formidable worker, a big guy with a heart as big as he is.
And Beth, our Ratanak liaison person who assists us at this end, provides water by the gazillion litres, allows us to invade her room at the crack of dawn for our devotional time, and makes sure our paint and suchlike are ready for us in Svay Pak. She is one energetic lady, let me tell you! She's a Canadian too.
All this, and the promise of God's presence ever step of the way! Am I joyful or what?
So... we got out to Svay Pak, and basically, worked like lunatics for the next few hours. You have probably heard that our lunches are prepared by the pastor's wife at Rahab's House. No more sitting in a circle on plastic chairs eating noodles (or 'noodles and bits") out of styrofoam containers, as we did on the last trip. Here we sit down to places set for us. Every lunch is marvellous: always rice, always trays of fresh fruit (the mangoes here are simply incredible) and always some kind of meat and vegetables. Even though I do not eat meat, these meals have been amazing. But we don't linger here either. Back to work, because it gets reallly really hot by this time of day, and we have miles to go. ...
We leave about 3:30. and head back to the city. The day is nowhere near over. We fall into our rooms, exhausted, hot, and looking you-cannot-imagine-how-awful. But within an hour and a half we meet again to debrief the day - and we all look fantastic - every one has clean hair, clean clothes on and everyone smells a whole lot better.
And then dinner. It was Grant's idea (showing his usual wisdom) to just stick to local places all week as we were all so exhausted. And then tonight we climbed in tuk-tuks and headed over to an Italian restaurant. It was sort of a 'we made it' celebration. We were all awake. We are all, for the most part, healthy (one of us feels a bit 'unsettled). We had such a nice time, nice food, and lots of laughter.
Our weekend is filled up already. We will blog about that after the fact. We returned to the hotel and the other women decided they would go out for a massage. I am not (by any stretch of the imagination) a person who wants her feet and legs massaged, so I stayed here.
A nice end to a long week. A good team. Good work to do. Health. (Some insomnia on the part of several of our team but I brought some help along, so this seems to be manageable).
Are you still reading? You ARE faithful! Thank you for your prayers, - believe me, we are extremely conscious of the prayer support we have had from you all. Mary nearly lost one eye yesterday when she was hurrying to get the paint out of her other eye. Instead a small laceration and bruise on her forehead, and the paint-eye is fine.
I have not talked about the silent unseen presence of evil in SP - but, believe me, that dark cloud is always there. We choose to look to the Light.