Sunday, November 6, 2011

A New Home

This morning I went with Melissa (one of my Ratanak colleagues from Canada) to the brothel district. After the church service we went to visit the home of some new church members. Some of pastor Chantha's disciples have been helping to rebuild homes that have been severely damaged because of the recent flooding along the Tonle Sap river. Of course the word 'home' here connotes a different meaning for in the area that we went to, we in the West would probably describe this as a 'slum.' So off we went along some narrow wooden planks that meandered through the walk way with many houses built on wooden stilts on the river.

Youth Pastor Ratanak pointed out several little shacks that were destroyed by a rain storm that we had over night. He was taking us to visit one family who the church has started to help.

Enroute we saw this 'shack' above which had no roof. But it didn't seem to bother the resident who was having a nap in the morning. Many of these homes have been made with bamboo or crude pieces of wood that have been nailed together.

We finally arrived at our destination--- a little shack at the end of a row of several 'homes'. This was a family of nine with one person who was the sole breadwinner who worked at a factory. The grandparents were not well and were too old to work so they looked after the kids. The father of the kids unfortunately had died years ago, drowning in the Tonle Sap river. The church had given the owners a blue tarp to act as a wall since all of that was destroyed. They also provided a blanket and the disciples hope to replace the zinc roof which has several holes in it. Can you imagine sleeping with such a roof above you in the rainy season. Unfortunately with the recent floods, part of the home was destroyed and lies partially submerged in the muddy water next to the current 'home'. The wooden planks that represent the 'floor' of the home are all uneven and provide natural ventilation to the water below. It is incredible that kind of environment and conditions that people have to live in.

As we talking with the family, I am once again amazed at how gracious Cambodians are and how the poor in general are so thoughtful with what little they have. As we were about to sit on the wooden planks, the grandmother brought out their one and only mat so that we could sit on it. This may not seem like a big deal to us but for a family like this who literally has nothing, they offer what little they have in order to be hospitable to us. It is through the poor, I once again learn about generosity, it is through the poor, that I discover a new level of giving and it is through the poor, that I see the heart of God.

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