Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Family Vacation

This past weekend I went with 3 of our staff and 3 of our young women to Sihanoukville for a mini ''family vacation for Khmer New Year.'' Unlike the rest of the young women who had gone home to their villages to spend time with their families, these three were unable to go for a variety of reasons. So off we went on Sunday morning with them for a couple days so that they could have a time to just rest and relax.

The beach we visited was a wonderful hide away filled with many Khmer families who were up in the province for the Khmer New Year. They were hanging out together with their kids having their picnic meals. We chose this area as it was a way from the famous tourist beaches in Sihanoukville which would be filled with sex tourists and pedophiles.  One cannot easily escape such sights as there were pockets of people we saw when we went to the market but at least, having a bit of a reprieve from such sights on a constant basis was a blessing from the Lord as it allowed us to relax without much agitation.

One young women had never swam in the ocean before and she thorougly enjoyed herself plunging into the water time and time again as the sunset in the late afternoon. But that was not all, she took the opportunity to wash her hair in the ocean as she put shampoo in it and then proceeded to put some cleansing lotion on her face to clean her face. Its interesting observing all these activities---that was a first---I've never seen anyone wash their hair and clean their face in the ocean ---only in Cambodia! We were all teasing her but she took it in good sport, laughing and continued to do her own thing! Gotta love the originality!  One of the blessings of this culture is the 'family atmosphere'' that is cultivated by picnics on the beach and so like other ''families', our staff went with the young women to the local market to choose what food they wanted to eat and have it cooked there before bringing it to the beach to eat.
Dinner: Fried Snails, Shrimp, Crab and Stir fried vegetables with steam rice!

The following day, we went off exploring another beach area that was a bit more remote. It was another opportunity for our young women to appreciate God's creation as we came across a pristine white sandy beach. We all went wandering off for a relaxing walk down the beach which was interrupted as a couple of the young women entertained themselves with some crab hunting/catching!
Crab hunting on the beach

Chasing after the crab!

Soon a couple of our other staff got into the action as they all took off collecting sea shells, snails and other sea creatures in recycle plastic cups that they had found.

One of our Home Advisors Than with one of our young women

Looking for sea treasures!

On the hunt for more shells in the sea
Trips such as these are meant to encourage the young women that they are not alone, that in the midst of this holiday season when everyone else is spending time with their families, they have not been forgotten. They have the opportunity to participate in activities just like those who have families. It was an opportunity for them to just relax, laugh and have fun like any other young person.

Having said that, one of the aspects of any family vacations is that teenagers all want to do their own thing. These young women are no different. They all enjoy sleeping in and when they are tired, they just don't want to talk to anyone or they just don't want to go an eat. They would rather sleep. Teenagers!  Each day, we would see this typical teenage behavior and I couldn't help but think, it doesn't matter whether you are in Canada or in Cambodia, teenagers have the same attitudes! Surprisingly, it was one young women who became rather motherly in her response to one of the other young women who was not in a pleasant mood---she said ''try to enjoy yourself and be thankful.''   As I reflect on my young friends and their behaviors, they remind me so much of us at times in our lives when we grumble and complain because we can't get what we want. Somehow, we miss out all the beauty that God wants to show us in that very moment because we are focused inward instead of looking outward. Our joy gets stolen because we focus (our Satan causes us to focus) on what we don't have instead of all the we have just received. Pray for all of our young women at the RAP home that each day, God will bless them with thankful hearts. 

We returned to the city yesterday afternoon and am thankful for the clear roads. With accidents increasing during this holiday period, we are grateful to God for giving us good weather, cooler temperatures and keeping us safe without many mishaps. Thank you to all who prayed for us!

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...nice vacation. I love spending time on the beach, although it make my skin darker, because of sunburn.