A Day in the Life

                I’ve seen movies. I’ve listened to stories. I have even seen pictures of some of the real slums of Phnom Penh and all over Cambodia. I haven’t become numb to the poverty, corruption and sadness that looms through this city, but I am not sure that I totally realized the intensity of this lifestyle until this past Saturday. Carl set us out on a mission: bring two of the older girls from the house, buy two barrels of fruit and head to the floating river village to deliver it to the children and elders that reside there. He sent us with this warning: wear tennis shoes, because you will literally be walking through trash, don’t touch the wires that the clothes are hanging on because if you touch open spots, the voltage is so powerful you could die, and notice that lack of young girls-it is because they have been rescued already… or sold. Then he added the kicker in saying that our girls were either rescued from this village, or villages similar to these living conditions. As we drove further away from the community that I have grown to know, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was finally taking a step into the reality of my little girls and I was scared of what I was going to find.

                As we walked down toward the river, my heart sank at the thought of my little girls living in such conditions. The houses floated on top of the water, either on boards or boats. I am not even sure they could be considered houses, though, with their makeshift roves, barely there walls and a bathroom consisting of a gas glazed, muddy river. The homes lined the river bank and at the first site of not only strangers, but white strangers, little eyes began to peek out of the windows and wander toward us. Soon, there were children coming at us from every direction, eager for fruit, to say “hello”, and for hugs and love. It was as if they knew we were there to bring food with a little extra love.  They grinned, shied away, and showed off for us as we lined them up and gave them each an apple and an orange. As the kids eagerly ran back to their homes with their prize possessions, we made our way up to the houses where we saw elders and parents to give them their share. I have never seen such grateful faces and toothless grins. Although they could not speak with us because of the language, their face expressed that their joy, thankfulness and surprise came all the way from the tips of their toes. Ducking among the wires, we went up and down the row of houses, delivering fruit, observing baths being taken in the water and just imagining for a quick moment that this is the life our girls know outside of the comfort, protection and love that is shared in Remember Nhu’s home.

                As I enter my last four days of ministry, I will be quickly reminded of the river scene every time I get annoyed with a little gremlin tickling my sides or mocking my yoga. I will remember where they came from when they eagerly want to know every fact about my life from my favorite color, to my boyfriend’s name, to if the man on the screen is my grandpa or brother. Seeing their background made this all more real for me. These little girls have a past that I have no idea about. They have a home that may either have a roof or it may not. Their shower may be in a muck filled, gassy river. And the highlight of their day may have been when white people brought them fruit, because otherwise they wouldn’t have eaten. So, in these next four days, I’m going to stretch my love a little further. I am tired, but not too tired to look past my own abilities, ask Christ to give me a little extra push and to love these girls with all that is left in me. Because their lives are far more detailed than I ever imagined.

More Articles in This Topic

This is Cambodia

Expect the Unexpected

The Love of the Father

My Wings Of Freedom