We've been on outreach for 11 weeks now. We have only a week left before we're completely done with our Asia outreach - which is a crazy thought! Over the past month as we've been getting closer to the end of outreach we've been feeling a little tired and worn out in some ways, but Cambodia has been fun! We've been welcomed by many people both in Phnom Penh and Battambang and we've had a varied schedule - with no week looking the same as the last - so that's been nice. As I've been thinking about what I would share about Cambodia, a lot of the little day-to-day things come to mind so I thought that I would share some highlights!
In Phnom Penh our team grew by four for a week which was a lot of fun! We played numerous games of Dutch Blitz, discovered how much fun bingo can be and ate pastries for breakfast at a cute cafe.
We joined in with a local ministry to do house visits and heard some life stories from people who have lived through some really hard times. We washed and braided hair for street/slum children.
We visited the Killing Fields, outside of Phnom Penh and learned about the genocide that happened in 1975-1979. It's not something that was fun or pleasant to dwell on, but it's oh-so-valuable and a way to honour those who had their lives taken, and the broken people left behind.
In Battambang we split up to work with different ministries. Eric and I ended up riding in the back of an open vehicle for a couple of hours to a village and back. We rafted across a river on a small bamboo raft - with three others. We took shelter from wet season rains under bamboo roofs.
In the following days we photographed village teenagers who live in the city at a student housing ministry. We ate foods that we couldn't pronounce, walked through big puddles on the way to the market and rode through the streets on the back of a moped/motorbike (true Cambodian style!).
We just spent our last few days at a village orphanage loving on children. We gave hundreds of hugs, joined in with the children as they sincerely worshipped God for providing for their needs, played ukulele with them and taught them a little photography. We've let them play with our hair and teach us Khmer words. We played games with them, taught them some bible studies and helped them practise English. We slept on mattresses on the floor under mosquito nets, in a room which was alive with mice during the sleeping hours.
We have sat on the roof of the YWAM base and star-gazed. We have used a faulty washing machine and started to complain before realising that we don't have to wash our clothes by hand like we did in India and we have been spoiled by occasional trips to coffee shops for wi-fi and western food.
Cambodia has been fun!