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Building A Home And Making A Difference

In my last blog I spoke about Srey Mey and the conditions that she and her family have to live in. Her house was too small for them all to live in and they had to sleep on the floor of their neighbors house.

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With a donation of money we were able to provide materials to build them a new and more suitable home. Nothing like we are used to in The Western World but it was enough to make a world of difference to them. Being on stilts it means that when the floods come( as they are beginning to now in Phnom Penh) they will not have to move else where. In fact their house has been built just in time and they can enjoy the comforts of their own home and not worry about getting flooded.

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Choosing the Materials

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The initial amount of money was not quite enough to do the job properly so with a little more money they were able to buy metal sheets for the walls. So it may not look too impressive to  most of us but this small donation( maybe £120 ) has made a huge difference to one family. The mother will get up at 3.00 am to go to the market to buy the best fruit and vegetables she can to sell them on. Later in the day she will collect plastic bottles to sell for re-cycling as will her daughter in the morning before she goes to school. They certainly didn’t choose this life…..

Phnom Penh 2014

So here are just a few random pictures of life in Phnom Penh. This city never ceases to intrigue me….how can so many with so little be so happy ?P1070818

I do stand in awe sometimes of those who have been born or sold into the mess in which they live. They never seem to complain but just mention that they do not have enough money to feed their children, or pay the rent…..

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To be with them can be a life changing experience and you can go as deep as you want with their struggles. I don’t think anyone could walk away from them and not be affected by the way they have to live.

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P1070847So take in the pictures and get a feel for those who have little or nothing……they certainly didn’t choose this life.

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Working Week

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This is my friend Sokunthea. She is 29 years old and her son Rah is just four years old. She collects rubbish for a living, not because she wants to but because she has to along with thousands of others in Phnom Penh. Sokunthea will get up at 7.00 in the morning and work until about 9.00 at night collecting what she can and then selling it on to be re-cycled i.e. plastic bottles, drink cans, cardboard etc. I met her once when I was on my way home from work and it was just beginning to rain, well pour actually, and of course the obvious was in front of me as she had nowhere to go but just sheltered until the rain had stopped-maybe an hour or two later. I bought her a raincoat- it was the least I could do. When she gets home she will then cook a meal for herself and her son. She will stop once during the day for lunch.P1010221P1010219

She has been doing this for the last four years; the first two with her husband before he left her and the last two by herself. Rah has not been well lately and had to spend time in hospital, another added cost they could have done without. As well as looking for rubbish Sokunthea will also search for food to see if there is anything she can find to eat to save having to pay for it.

Home sweet home. No electric,no running water and no toilet..

Home sweet home. No electric,no running water and no toilet..

P1010228      P1010230 She will earn about one and a quarter dollars a day ( .65p ), that is less than £5.00 a week and that will have to pay for food for the two of them, her rent and any other costs that may come up ( hospital fees etc ). Oh, and a working week is seven days long. There is no day of rest for many in this poverty stricken country.P1010233

Changing Lives

This Sunday we had our Church service at one of the International schools here in Phnom Penh instead of at our usual church. The reason for this was that 16 people were getting baptised and we used their swimming pool to baptise them in.

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There were about 70 present for the service and it started a little later than planned as it took longer to travel from one side of the city to the other through the as ever manic traffic. Most of those baptised were teenagers although the oldest candidate was 63 and it was a pleasure to be involved with the service.

What probably made this so special was that seven of the girls who were baptised had been involved in sex trafficking and had been “rescued ” by an NGO that works with those who are trying escape from their forced trade. Two were as young as 15 and one was just 13…..

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Phnom Penh

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