Saturday, June 23, 2012

A week at the RAP Home

As mentioned in my previous post Brian McConaghy the founder of Ratanak is visiting Cambodia. It was fun picking him up in the Ratanak car and whisking him from the airport to the RAP (Ratanak Achievement Program) home so that he could meet our staff. They were just wrapping up a training session learning about Spiritual Intimacy with the Father, when we walked in the door so we opted to tour the facilities briefly. 
Staff devotions with Wendy an international worker here in Cambodia who speaks fluent Khmer

As he walked through the building, he commented how unusual it was to walk through a project that was not one of our partners but an actual Ratanak project. Many of you know that Ratanak was started 23 years ago when God put a call on Brian's heart for Cambodia. For 18 years he worked full time in the RCMP and used his evenings to serve his other passion the people of Cambodia. So it was a special moment for me to welcome a dear friend who has not only inspired my life but who is an example of one who has lived so selflessly for many years to serve a nation he loves. Whenever I think of Brian, he is a living example of what a ''long obedience in the same direction'' looks like. His commitment and love for Cambodia has never wavered in spite of challenges along the way.

Brian sharing with the our staff about his journey to Cambodia

As the week progress our staff are slowly settling into their new work place, our two home advisors have been practicing their culinary skills in preparation for when the RAP home opens. They will be teaching the girls who live at the home how to cook.
Sina making fried rice!

Sophea preparing one of my favorite dishes - Lok Lak
Of course with each practice cooking session at lunch time, I made sure I had meetings at the RAP home scheduled around lunch time to taste all the wonderful dishes that were being made. I think I've gained a few pounds from this meal alone! On the menu that day was spring rolls,  sweet and sour fish and beef lok lac --a popular Khmer dish.
Lunch time at the RAP Home

Eating together is a wonderful bonding opportunity between the staff and the soon to be clients who will be staying at this home. For me, being the only ''boratay (foreigner)'' its extra special as the discussions around the table tend to be in Khmer which gives me a great opportunity to not just practice my language but also learn more about our staff and different cultural aspects of life in Cambodia. I learned that eating the fish head means that you are the leader----some of the staff wanted to know if I would like to have it but I happily declined. I quickly deflected such a suggestion by commenting that we are all leaders in different ways so they could all have a share of the fish head! We also began talking about relationships as some of our staff are single so it was fascinating to learn more about why some would prefer to marry a foreigner versus a Khmer person. Of course those who are married added in their two cents about why they chose a Khmer spouse. Stay tune for a blog on dating cues from the Cambodian perspective!

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