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10% and 90%

“….I am convinced that life is 10%  what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”  Charles R Swindoll

I just love this quote. I first heard it some years ago before I came to Cambodia and after living here for nearly eighteen months I have seen that many Cambodians live this out-they probably have never even heard this quote before-but they are the epitome of it.P1050686 P1050715

Born into poverty and destitution they have no choice but to work for a living and they will take whatever work is on offer. It is not their fault that they have been born into this way of life but it is their reaction to this that is amazing. Every day I see young children begging at the traffic junctions, people collecting rubbish with their own children sitting in the rubbish carts-today I saw a man with crutches pushing his cart with his young son sitting inside it…just another day in Phnom Penh. They never moan, they just survive as that is all they can do.P1050321

Yet they are such an inspiration. They will often smile at you and genuinely appreciate anything that is given to them. Many work at night collecting the rubbish as it is cooler-they have lamps on their heads so they can see what they are looking for…and also to spot the rats. It is no surprise that Cambodia was recently voted the friendliest country in the world by Rough Guides….that is quite an achievement out of nearly 200 different countries on this planet.P1050263

So Cambodia is proof that you can overcome adversity if you have the right attitude…..this does not mean that the people are just tolerant of their lives, it shows that they are among the most beautiful people in the world….because they have shown that what has happened to their country in the past will not hang over them and they will apply themselves as they only know how ……to never bloody give up.

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Building a future………..                                      ……..for a better past.

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