Friday, April 2, 2010

Hope and a Future

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Today we went to Hagar to paint a mural on a very long wall. We all set to work and soon it was covered. Later, the students came out by class to make their contribution to the mural. We separated into stations for this. A few of us managed the flow of children by letting them come four at a time, while four more of us lined up with our rollers and painted colour onto their hands. The next group helped the children place their hand print onto the wall, and the final station washed the paint off their hands.

To paint their hand, they would have to rest their hand in ours, as we cradled it (palm facing up) to apply the paint. As I painted their hands I had a chance to bless some of them and say a quick prayer for a few others. After school, it was so satisfying to see them come out and look for their hand prints.

Throughout the day, we had the chance to interact with the children when they were on breaks. In the morning, there was a young girl who wasn't in any classes. She was very sweet, and very interested in what we were doing. There was a spare piece of large card stock paper so I let her use it to make a drawing. She loved that and afterwards showed me it. Even though she couldn't speak English, I managed to understand that she drew her home.

At the end of the day we played 'Ring Around the Rosey' and 'Duck, Duck, Goose' with a number of children, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Lots of fun and laughter.

This evening we went down to the river to take in the night life of Phnom Penh. Lots of people are out just sitting around or having a stroll. We even saw some line dancing to Cambodian music! Young and old were following a few leaders at the front. It seemed like a form of entertainment mixed with exercise. I couldn't help but join in and have a jig myself!

Among the sights was a "bug cart". The Cambodians eat various types of bugs, so this was a cart displaying an assortment of cooked critters - yum! There were other things to see that were difficult to digest as well. We learned that this is a place where you see young boys prostituted, old men buy Cambodian girls, and young orphans just freely running around. We also saw a very young slave girl with a Krama (Cambodian scarf) tied around her neck from which she carried a large baby. She came to us begging. What was most disturbing was that the baby's head hung listlessly out of the end of the Krama. We have learned that some people rent out their baby for a dollar a day. Often these babies are drugged. The unsuspecting tourist would likely think the baby was asleep. Look with your heart and something cries out from within wishing you could save them all.

We can do something though. Right now we are bringing what we have to hopefully brighten their lives and cheer them on so that they have a hope and a future. But something else is happening too...we are being changed in the process.

Tomorrow we will finish the mural at Hagar and paint the community centre within Hagar too! We have moved along so quickly on each of the projects,getting more accomplished than we thought possible! Must be all of those prayers from back home...and who knows where else!!! But thank you!

Happy Easter to all of you!


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