FEATURED POST by Janne Ritskes – Founder/Director of Tabitha- CAMBODIA
When you travel with Original Trails to Cambodia, we build a well for a rural village through the Tabitha Foundation on your behalf. We truly believe in what they do! This is a beautifully written piece by Janne showing how benevolent trusts like Tabitha really are making a difference in local lives and remind us to be thankful for what we have this year.
Yesterday was a special day, –special because my daughter Miriam and three of her friends came along on a site visit. It’ is not often that these young ladies can come as their lives at 14 are rather busy with school and home activities. We went to Kampong Speu to see a school in the process of being built. As we passed through the village where these children live we were reminded of how blessed we are. –A small wooden building held two classes –- open air and on the corner of a dusty and very hot road crossing. – The girls remained quiet. We passed by homes made of thatch and straw,– not much in or around them. We arrived at the new school being built. We walked into the old wooden structure, with holes in the roof and sagging support posts in danger of collapse. All of us were a bit nervous to stay inside. We were surrounded by children of all shapes and sizes -– over 1100 students in those few rooms – my girls were nervous and a bit overwhelmed. While I talked with the parents and teachers, the girls started a volleyball game with some of the boys. At first it was very quiet but as the game progressed the cheering started,– equal for both sides, each successful serve and volley was greeted with loud cheers. For a few moments differences were forgotten,– for a few moments we were all one,– for a few moments it didn’’t matter if we were rich or poor, what a Christmas present that was for everyone.
Our second stop was at a school completed a year and a half ago. – The differences in the villages was startling. – The roads to both areas were rock and roll tracks – stunning scenery, poverty a norm. Yet the differences were so apparent. The school itself was finished and children were not afraid to be inside. –The rooms were cool in the heat, –a pleasant and welcome respite. Then we visited the homes of the children and the differences between the villages became marked. Three years ago this village had also been barren and desperate. Yesterday, it was full. – Full of food and dreams coming true. At each family home –the girls started to count the many ways the families were earning money. Each family had pigs and chickens, –each family had just harvested rice – unheard of before. –The difference a well makes. – All families were growing food – bananas, papayas, lemon grass, pumpkins and peanuts, chilies and sesame seeds, at least 12 different small plots of vegetables per family. Christmas all year round as the food grown and raised made so many changes in the lives of our families.
The differences in lives are because of each of you who stand with us and with our families as they make their way out of poverty. I am so thankful to my God for the privilege of standing with so many here and with all of you. Yesterday was a special day. – Miriam and her friends stood with our families for a few short hours. –They shared their lives, –rejoiced in play,– counted and tasted the food grown,– chased the chickens and laughed with the kids. Christmas is about peace,– about being one. Yesterday was Christmas for me. Thank you for helping that gift to be.
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