Thursday, March 11, 2010

In awe

As I spend time observing life in Cambodia - I feel in awe of all that the Gliddon family do and have endured.
To think of arriving in a place like Phnom Phen .... especially at this time of the year when the heat is absolutely oppressive .... blows my mind. To not know the language - to know no-one - to not know where to shop, what to buy, who to rely on....that takes amazing courage and, of course, God.

The every day challenges they face. To know that they often face the challenge of bad bellies alone! To see how hard Katrina is fighting to get Mothers Heart up and running - to see the bureaucracy - and to see the challenge for her of administration....not one of her gifts as most people who know her would know.

It would be easy to say their life is cushy because they drop the children at school and then head to a cafe for coffee - but that is part of their release and also where they do their work. The children are no sooner in school than they have to be collected again.

The car is an absolute Godsend and Paul is totally amazing with how he has adapted to the driving. Driving here is literally taking your life in your hands each time.

The house they have is lovely - and they do have airconditioners in the bedrooms and the lounge room - but they can only run 2 at any one time. The house, at this time of the year, is easily 35 degrees INside. The humidity is something you have to experience to believe. You feel like you need a shower 5 times a day.

You are CONSTANTLY watching your possessions. Both in your home and out.

The road that gets to their home is unbelievably rough and bumpy....and worse in winter when it floods.

Katrinas phone barely stops during the day.
She is focused on the needs that arise - and that happens often. She rejoices when the good happens. Days before we arrived a 13yo gave birth. She had planned not to keep the baby and now - a week later she has decided to breast feed. A breakthrough that had me weeping when Katrina text me. This is what they are here for.

The children have adapted so well - but the heat plays hard on them. The have very little open area to is more like a compound than a play area.

It is so dusty and dirty every where you go....and the smells are so typical of Asia.

Nothing here, except the people, is beautiful...unless you are prepared to look for it. I see beauty so much more deeply than looks - but to the naked eye - nothing is beautiful. You take joy when you see water here....even though it is ALWAYS dirty. You see animal parts in restaurants everywhere. You see people sifting through the rubbish dumps...which are just areas where people dump rubbish.

I do not know that it would be possible to ever make this place look beautiful to our western eyes.

It is oppressive and has a kind of blackness surrounding it. Yet people still smile warmly...something I have not found with the westerners that I smile at. I find that astonishing!

I have so much more to write...but will leave you with this small bit for now while the internet will (hopefully) allow!


Terry Snell said...

Hi Jen,

Mum did not pass on any of this stuff, so I just read it myself. It sounds like your experience is similar to what I felt like with my COM trip all of those years ago. Get ready for a dose of reverse culture shock when you get back home too!


Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

Hey... sounds like you are having quiet an eyeopening time... do hope that Ebs is feeling alot better now... soryr I don't get by as much... life is insane right now... take care