::1:: I could drive around doing errands in the supermarket, looking for cartons of milk, my mind would fly away to the Russian Market “Psar Tuol Tom Pom”. Standing in the gigantic freezer with zillions of choices brought my physical being back to that 40 degrees of humidity. How I enjoyed our team racing the “amazing race” with P. Graham, S. Falle and P. Philips, looking for bolt at stall #321 and took a picture of the stall. My personal favourite is “Take a picture of raw chickens hanging in the meat market area. Stall #495/496”, I now wondered were they really raw chickens?? They looked like dead poultry to me only!
::2:: Looking across the courtyard and seeing Beth holding hands with V. and another little one who had a very different profile than the other girl. Dark skin tone, extremely curly hair, walking with a hop in between every step, wearing a Tom & Jerry PJs. I realize another girl I saw few days ago at Svay Pak Kids Club had the same profile but a little older. Later I found out from Sisrat that they were sisters. The older sister whispered in the younger sister’s ears in Khmer, of course, “Can you buy me this Cross keychain?” I stood next to them, holding my 2 new photo frames hand-made by Newsong girls, recording all these in my mind. No camera was allowed and I feel privileged that these images are bound to be mine alone.
::3:: A troop of us were marching to the Central Market, discussing whether we needed 1.5 hours or 2 hours for shopping. (group dynamics can be very interesting when you are in a strange land together!!) hoping to get some good finds to take home. Some wanted silk scarves, some wanted to bring to her Ratanak office a Cambodian map and flag, some wanted to bring home her husband a few cool t-shirts. We stopped at one stall with our Khmer friend who tried her best to get us a good deal. While she was haggling with the store owner, I was startled by a woman standing right behind me. Her arms were holding a baby, assuming hers, and she was begging for money. She stood very close to me that my eyes could not possibly find another space to look away from her. I politely said “No, I am sorry.” She walked away yet still stood in a close proximity. Another woman holding “her” baby walked over again with the same look on her face. I was advised not to give out any money, I simply stood there without doing anything. This verse came to my mind, “Now I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up. Do yo not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wastelands.”
::4:: I was sitting at the very back of the van with the other 3, a bit squished. Yet who would care about that? “I am in Cambodia! Yes it is hot, but I am in Cambodia!! Yes I am physically exhausted and I could feel the dust climbing up to my nostrils and making me wanting to sneeze all the time, but I am in Cambodia!!” The van driver was driving us back to Siem Reap from Kopreach village (where Reaksa’s school is). S. Surh kept pointing to me the anorexic cows she saw in the field and I kept missing them. Because my eyes were lavishly looking farther and further to the field. I saw palm trees, I saw the dust filling in the air, I saw a family sitting on a motocycle (a dad driving, a child behind him not even holding onto the dad, a mum sitting like she is sitting on a deep-armed chair, holding onto an infant baby girl, with bags of vegetable and live chicken dangling upside down). After an hour or so, my 2 team-mates dozed off on my shoulders and I was still looking out to the window, drinking everything outside with a smile.
Have I already written this, “God has shown me not only a community, or a girl, or a Ratanak-funded program, or one issue or 10 issues. God shows me a nation that He has protected and a new vibrant shoot was sprouting up in the desert. Right now, right here. A nation He loves so much, and so do I.”