I am so privileged to be here right now. As I am writing this 21 boys are having an opportunity that they probably never thought they would have. They are swimming in a hotel pool. The girls will be coming this afternoon to swim so we aren’t leaving them out.
I want to share with you the story of two of the children. A boy and a girl. The boy’s name is Vannek, pronounced. He is 13 years old and has been in the children’s home in Phnom Penh for 9 months. He was living with his grandfather because his parents are separated and neither one could afford for him to live with them. His grandfather couldn’t really either, so he had him work with him. They would go into the dump every night and search for things that they could sell. It would be very difficult because they would just use flashlights. The reason they would go at night is because that was when the garbage trucks would drop off the garbage. The scary part is that it is dark and very hard to see. You never knew you what you were going to step in or on. Or what you would find. Saveun was telling me that they have found the bodies of babies before. Not a very good life for a 14 year old boy. During the day he and his grandpa would sleep and rest up for the next night. So that meant no school for him. It costs quite a bit to go to school here, so there’s no way that his grandfather could send him. When Vannek came here 9 months ago, he could not read or write. He had never been to school a day in his life. Fast forward 8 months. He is happy and healthy, eats three meals a day. Goes to school every day. Now you would think never going to school the first 13 years of your life you might struggle a little bit. Not Vannek!! Not only did he place third in his school for reading and writing, he also has learned to play the piano!!!!! On Sunday he played the song for the children’s choir and did a fantastic job. Just think of the opportunities he will have in his life because of unconditional love.
The girls name is Sraynov. She is 6 years old and has just only arrived two days ago. Every time I think about her it brings tears to my eyes. Both of her parents have the HIV virus. Thankfully she does not have it. And I found out the reason this morning is because they adopted her. They thought that they could not have children, and they knew of an unwed mother that could not afford to take care of her. The problem now is, it is very hard for someone with HIV to find a job. So they are struggling quite a bit. This is Savuens older brother. They contacted him and asked if there was room at the children’s home. And of course he said yes. It was really hard for Sraynov that first night. Myself and Savouen were still sitting around the supper table when she came down from her room crying cause she missed her parents. It was making me cry knowing that her parents were probably missing her. Savouen has such a kind heart. You can tell that he really cares for these children. It probably helps that this is his niece, but I have seen his kindness with the other children as well.
It makes me feel sad and happy at the same time just we need to have this children’s home. Glad that we can have a safe place for them where they can go to school and get lots to eat. But sad that they are away from their parents.