Tragedy and Harmony
A lot can happen in one day.Unfortunately I was reminded of this just yesterday when I was told that the brother-in-law of one of our workers had committed suicide and that a new life was starting for two people who were getting married along our street. The young man was found drowned in a river earlier in the morning, possibly having jumped off a nearby bridge. We went to give our condolences to the family that afternoon at the nearby pagoda-but what can you say in such a tragic situation?He had a Buddhist funeral this morning and our prayers go out to his family and friends. Later on that day a young girl who lives just along the road from us got married. As is the way with Buddhist weddings the ceremony and celebrations are held in the house,grounds and nearby roadside.A canopy is put up in the road for the guests, and tables and chairs hired for the many who are invited. Like most wedding days it tends to be a long day. By 7.30 in the evening the party was in full swing. The live music was loud(or am I just getting old?) and finally finished at 11.30. The humming generator was switched off at 12.15 and finally there was peace…
Last Sunday a young baby was dedicated(or as other denominations would say-christened)in our Church. She is only a few weeks old and has two loving parents who want to give her the best start in life they can. Earlier this week I went into one of the worst slums I have seen where our organisation is working with some of the dwellers. The point of the trip was to try and follow up on a lady who was working as a cleaner but had not been seen for a while. She was not at home but while we were there another woman came up to us with her young baby in her arms. The woman has HIV and did not want to breast feed her daughter for fear of passing it on so she was asking for money to buy powdered milk. Her daughter was 12 days old and she has two other children. They earn about £3 a day collecting rubbish and soon one son will start attending school. The father left a long time ago. Two new lives come into this world and one has a better start than the other—life just isn’t fair is it….
Thursday and Friday of this week were spent attending the first Global Leadership Summit to be held in Cambodia.This event has been running for ten years now and has been expanding year by year.It is now held in 326 cities in 90 different countries and next year will hopefully be in over 100 countries. The purpose of this conference is to gather together the Church leaders and other Christian leaders within Cambodia and to help them in their leadership of their respective organisations by listening to talks given by such people as Bill Hybels ,John Ortberg, and others. As well as this there were group discussions and times of sharing.
There was about 370 in attendance mostly from Phnom Penh and for a first conference it went very well and was very well organised.Some points that were highlighted were: Fear of failure, Change begins with me, What is my motive to doing what I am doing?, What fills you and what drains you? and, If the solution starts with the leader then the problem starts with the leader.
It was also good to meet with other people and find out about their Churches or organisations and what problems they are addressing-the list is endless..As well as getting to know others working in Cambodia and to get a better understanding of the issues here were were given some startling information on problems that are not only an issue in Cambodia but throughout the world-over 6 million children under the age of five will die this year through starvation.This really makes you think “what can I do to help?” We all have so much to give and so much to offer( if I can come 7,500 miles to help others in Cambodia I know that many others,more qualified can do so much more. As can those who think that they have no qualifications and nothing to offer…).
This conference was certainly a blessing and I hope
We have been in Cambodia nearly four months now. It was emphasised that the first three months would be spent learning the language and acclimatising to the new culture(and heat !) and after that we would slowly get involved in the work of our NGO. Already I have been going into work at least once a week to get an idea of how the organisation works which involves visiting families in the slums out here and seeing how our NGO can help them. Earlier this week we went to a conference here in Phnom Penh which focused on the issues of sex trafficking in this country. It was quite astounding to hear the facts and figures of what is happening out here and the people involved in this sordid business. This really is a fallen country,a country without limits or boundaries-a country where anything goes and all things are acceptable to many. But what is so reassuring is that there are so many people and organisations out here who actively want to make a difference. This is a big battlefield and there is a lot going on -please pray for Cambodia!..The rest of the week has been the same as the previous weeks with language lessons in the morning and free time in the afternoons. Football on Sunday, Monday,Tuesday and Thursday helps to keep me fit and also remind me of my age! On Friday I played badminton with the neighbours in the road outside our home-it,s at the end of a cul-de-sac so there is little traffic! It is certainly not a working week yet but soon will be and I eventually will ,hopefully, be able to help those in need…
I was cycling home after taking my camera in to be fixed(!!??**can you believe that) along one of the Boulevards, I forget which one, when I heard this bang. A moto had been hit by a big 4×4 and I looked up just in time to see the bike spinning across the road and two young lads being thrown off it. One landed on the driveway of the petrol station and the other was thrown onto the pavement and bounced into a hedge. I could see that the one in the driveway was fairly OK as he was sat upright and looking around-looking for his mate. The other lad was not OK. His leg was severely cut(cut to the bone) and bleeding badly. He was bleeding elsewhere and bleeding from the mouth. He was in a state of shock..and so was I. People just watched from a distance,they did not want to get involved but I was already there. I could do nothing but make sure that someone had phoned for an ambulance and be with the young lad….After that all I could do was pray. I really do not like the sight of blood so to pray with my eyes closed was a bit of a cop-out,but then I had to meet his eyes-they were lost,desperate Many people were watching by now,some in tears. I felt his chest and he was wheezing -not a good sign.
I have looked at the back of an I-Phone before, when someone has been taking my picture and I have smiled,but I couldn’t smile now. They were getting into the best position to take a picture…of a man dying, as that is what it looked like,maybe that is what it was. I shouted to them to stop taking photo’s and nearly threw my helmet at one of them as I found it so sickening, but you must never loose control(be disciplined)There were at least four people taking photos-I just don’t understand it. I think that I probably surprised myself the most by shouting at them but they did listen and withdrew into the gathering crowd.
The ambulance came and he was taken away. I don’t know if he got the treatment that he needed( it depends on how well you are insured out here) and I don’t know if he lived or not. All I know is that I did all that I could-I prayed and I know that God listened…
I later went to collect my camera. It cost me a lot of money and then I had to buy a new memory card for it. I then got lost on my way home and arrived late for tea. Not one of my best days but then it was a lot better than some others have had……
Last year an average of eight people a day were killed and forty others seriously injured on the roads in Cambodia.The death toll of road accidents has doubled in the last seven years and now claims more lives than malaria,dengue and landmines.
Well tonight we have been out with some friends to celebrate the Birthday of someone else who is working as a missionary here and is from the Isle of Wight. I know of three families who are working in Phnom Penh and are either from or have relatives on the Island. It is strange who gets drawn to this city-Avram Grant was seen here a few months ago(former Chelsea manager).!?*
Coming home tonight in a Tuk Tuk noticed many people collecting rubbish as they do with their little trucks that they use to collect it all in. One even had a lamp on her head to aid her. This isn’t a nine-to -five city, people work because they need to survive and if that means collecting rubbish throughout the night then that is what they do-it is their life, they have no choice. If they do not work they get no money. If they have no money they have nothing to buy their food with and nothing to pay their rent with…It is as simple as that. But I am so amazed at how content they are. It is not that they even SEEM to be content-they just are. To collect eighty empty cans will get them $1. Sometimes the mothers take their children with them. Sometimes the boys are only in their early teens, or younger even. Sometimes they will go weeks without a day off because they cannot afford to. It is their life, they have no choice.
I will never cease to be amazed at how the rich and poor live together side by side in this amazing city. You will find beautiful large expensive houses within a stone’s throw of some slum areas, and everything in-between, in-between. Amongst the thousands of motos you will find many big expensive cars, usually Lexus or Toyotas but people seem to live in harmony with one another, there seems to be no animosity at all
This blog is to show what life is like in some of the desperate areas in Cambodia and how ordinary people are able to make a difference and give others Hope….
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