KJB in Cambodia

So it turns out that I am a bit of a liar. ‘I promise I’ll blog again soon’, yeah right KJB, empty words.

Even though I’m not in Cambodia anymore, rendering the title of this blog pretty much redundant, I thought it would be a good idea to finish off what I started (for once) and do a couple of final posts! So in this one I’m just gonna spill all the beanz on my last week in Cambodia and the journey home and then I will 100% definitely do a final post with all that kinda reflective stuff. Plan. Let’s go.

So I think last time I left off saying that we were about to go for a weekend roadtrip to Siem Reap. Sounds like a good starting point to me. SO, we went to Siem Reap on the friday, it’s about a 2 hour or so drive from Poipet, going South East (I think, don’t quote me on that.) We pretty much slept all the way. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so tired as I have sometimes here! Must be the heat or something! I knew that Siem Reap is a popular tourist/traveller destination, so I was expecting to see a lot of Westerners there, but that still didn’t prepare me for how weird it was seeing so many white people everywhere again! Very strange! We played ‘guess the nationality’ of the people from the car window. Pretty pointless really, as we would never find out, but then again, technically you can never lose! We arrived at our hotel at lunchtime. We all swapped room buddies, so I shared with Pip, who I forgot is infamous for having the air-con on so low that the room is like a freezer… we managed to overcome our differences though! We went out for a quick lunch where the menu offered ‘White Wine By Batter’ (that’s white wine by the bottle for you none-cambodians out there) and then we went for a boat ride to the floating village. We went along a river thingy that opened out onto a huge lake, apparently Cambodia’s biggest fresh water lake. All along the river there were boat-houses, quite literally a village that was floating, with people in smaller boats like shops going up and down the river selling their wares. Crazy stuff! We also saw some crocodiles, boxed in thankfully, and snakes. When we got off the boat, we had a very surreal experience. We walked throught the port shop to walk back to our taxi, and people came running after us trying to sell things. We were all just saying no thank you and not really looking at what they were selling, they were just some souvenir plates, or so we thought. On second glance, these plates had a picture of each of us in the middle of it!!! They had taken a photo of us getting on the boat, without us realising, and then gone and printed them off and stuck them on plates for us to buy! It was mad! Honestly one of the weirdest moments of my life.

In the evening we went up on of the temples to watch the sunset. A great idea. So great that about 500 other people had the same idea! It was packed! Then we went into the town to get dinner, satay chicken, YUM. After that we went to the nightmarket. Turns out I’m pretty rubbish at bartering. Luckily for me though, I had Claire with me, who is an expert. I would have been ripped off without her! We got an early night so we could get up in time to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat the next morning. It was beaut. Even though we were a bit late, it was still lovely. We spent the whole day going around the temples, they are truly amazing. And there are so many of them! We saw maybe 7 or 8, and there are well over 25 I am told! In the evening we went out for a buffet and saw some traditional Khmer dancing. ON our last day in Siem Reap we did a few more temples. The last one we went to was the best, with huge tree branches intertwined with the temple building, it was awesome.

After harping on about how good the weekend was, this is going to sound weird, but the best bit was when we arrived back in Poipet. We got back in the evening, and as the car pulled up in front of the CHO office, we looked out of the window and saw all our friends from the cafe waiting for us with open arms and smiles. Welcome back hugs were shared all around. It was so nice. I love these people.

Onto our last few days at CHO. Monday and Wednesday were pretty standard days, brick-making/building and teaching at safe haven. On Tuesday me and Claire went to the New Bloom sewing project in the Hope Transform building to help. We did lots of ironing and had fun trying to make conversation with the ladies who didn’t speak any english! They drove us back to CHO on their motorbikes, fun times.

On Wednesday night, CHO had a party! They usually have a staff party once a month but haven’t had one for a long time because they’ve been so busy. It was really nice that the party coincided with our last night in Cambodia, it was a nice way to say goodbye. The party was upstairs in the church room at CHO. The band was in full swing, once again, synthesiser, crazy drumming and clapping, there was loads of food (including some fried bugs which I avoided!) and all the CHO staff were there. We had the opportunity to give a little thankyou speech to everyone. It was so hard to put into words how thankful we are for the hospitality CHO have shown us and how they have inspired us. Literally in tears by the end of it. It was such a lovely evening. They taught us Khmer dancing and we danced for a looooong time! So much fun. Never genuinely laughed or smiled that much in one evening!

And then on Thursday it was time to leave. In the morning we worked at Safe Haven and said goodbye to the teachers and the kids. It was so sad to think that we were leaving Safe Haven for the last time. 😦 Only me and Pip were flying back straight away, the rest of the team were staying in Cambodia to travel for a couple of weeks and meet up with friends. It was sad for us 2 leaving the rest of them, but they made us a ‘tunnel of love’ as we left CHO for the last time!

We left Poipet at about 3pm on the Thursday and got back to the UK 8pm Friday, very jet-lagged (Cambodia is 6 hours ahead). At the time I couldn’t even process everything in my head, leaving, saying goodbye, coming home, I just wanted to sleep! Still now I can’t even describe properly how hard it was to say goodbye to the people who we’d worked with, laughed with, who had looked after us, taught us, and been so so so unbelievably kind and loving to us, total strangers, for a whole month. These people showed us true friendship and kindness unreservedly, and I can only hope that one day I’ll be able to go back to Cambodia and see them again.

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Hellooo again from Cambodia!

So today (thursday) is the end of our working week this week as we are going away for the weekend to see the temples in Siem Reap tomorrow until Sunday! We’re all really excited about seeing a bit more of Cambodia and having a bit of a road trip!

So a roundup of this week….

Sunday: Leading worship at church again seemed to go well, we sang the songs in English and Khmer and it was just wonderful hearing praise being sung to the one true God in two languages, there was a real sense of unity. Also, a big team from America arrived for the week so we chatted to them afterwards. They’ve been working in Vietnam for two months and when they leave tomorrow (friday) they are carrying on through South East Asia working with various charities and churches. It would be great if you could pray for them as they leave Poipet.

Monday: We were back at Safe Haven again teaching English and carrying on with building the library. We’ve been teaching them the alphabet, but phonetically so that they can pronounce the letters properly in words (like, they learnt the alphabet like we do: A,B,C etc but when they tried to say words like ‘cat’ they would say ‘sat’ like a capital C) and we also taught them a few phrases like how to say their favourite hobbies and stuff. They really love to chant things and shout things loudly! But most of the time when they do they just shout and don’t actually learn to pronounce the word properly, so we’ve found it’s better to go around the class and work with a group of 3 or 4 kids at a time, so generally we tend to teach in twos. We were teaching in the morning and then in the afternoon we were shovelling loads of clay to make bricks and moving it from the field to the shed, a tiring job in the heat! In the evening Reitreay took us out for a meal in one of the casinos. It was supposed to be an international buffet, but there was a lot of thai and cambodian food, funnily enough! They did however have loads of salad and bread which was a nice change from rice and noodles for a night!

Tuesday: On tuesday I felt pretty sick so ended up having to stay back at the hotel for the day! Really sad to be missing out on teaching and building! The team reported back that they had started making more bricks and that the classes went well, they obviously coped fine without me!

SORRY to just stop in the middle of this week summary, but i just saw a big rat run behind the computers here…..nearly screamed, managed to control myself though! Also, in other rat news, Claire and Lauren had a rat in their room the other night (we named him Stuart, like Stuart Little). I screamed a lot at that one, we (by which i mean the boys and Alicia) tried to catch it in a bin but it ran away too fast! I feel the experience brought us closer together as a team….ANYWAY….

Wednesday: Again at Safe Haven for the day. Me and Claire taught Grade 2 all the colours of the rainbow and a song, and we played ladders with them outside. May have not been the best choice of game however, as we had a few injuries! Will rethink that next time! We managed to make about 300 bricks in the morning but then the machine overheated so we couldnt use it in the afternoon. Instead some of the team did some cementing while me Claire Pip and Rosa (our translator and 12th team member) went and shovelled some more clay. About 10 minutes into shovelling, however, it rained. A lot. But Rosa insisted that it would stop soon so we should carry on. It did not stop soon. We got very very very wet! As cold and wet as we were though, it was fun, and we managed to shovel a whole cartful, and eventually got the cart pushed out of the mud afterwards!

Thursday: So today most of the team carried on with the work at Safe Haven, but me and Alicia spent the day with some of the Canadians. The Canadians, who are Sheila and her husband Harley, and also this week  Sheila’s niece Melissa and friend from church Charlene, have been going out into the villages every day praying for healing and i think Harley has also baptised some people on a couple of days. Because we are such a big team we can’t all go out with them at the same time, so so far Pip and James have been with them on separate days, and today they had 2 spaces in the van so me and Alicia asked if we could join them. I’ve not had really any experience of healing or praying specifically for healing before so I was keen to go to try and learn and understand more about it. We went out to a soldier camp about an hour or so from Poipet, where there is also a Canadian medical team working this week, and prayed for some of the soldiers and their families.  I always thought that praying for healing meant praying and asking God to heal the sick person, but Sheila explained to us that God gives us the authority, like Jesus did to his disciples, to go out and heal the sick, and that Jesus didn’t just go and pray for people, he went and healed people, so it is by God’s power that people are healed but he can do it through us. At the beginning I found this quite hard to get my head around, and was a bit uncomfortable and doubtful, as I wasn’t sure that I was praying right or saying the right things, and I was worried that because I was doubting then nothing would happen. But after the first guy we prayed for I didn’t have any doubts. He was a soldier, and said he was a Christian. He had had numbness in his legs for 5 years and couldn’t bend down properly. We prayed for him and he said he felt a bit better, so we prayed a few more times, each time he said he felt better and better, and after about the 4th time he said he could feel his legs again and bent right down! It was just amazing to see something like that go almost instantly, and to see God working just like that. Throughout the day we prayed for about 20 people or so, mostly people with back pain or stomach pain, headaches and chest pain, and one lady with HIV. All of them improved or felt completely better after a few prayers. Obviously we can’t know if the lady with HIV has been healed but can only hope that she has. It was a really interesting day and I feel like I learnt a lot more about something I didn’t really understand before. Sheila and Harley were telling us stories of amazing healing they have seen over the years which was really inspiring to hear. They also were telling us about how healing can be such a good evangelistic tool, as they have prayed for non-christians before who have been healed and come to faith and then gone and told everyone about it!

So, that’s the roundup of the week! Will probably blog after the weekend with tales of Siem Reap!

Prayer points below again!

Love from Cambodia

KJB

xxx

 

Praaaayer:

Pray for the American team as they leave Poipet tomorrow morning, for safe travel and that they would serve God faithfully wherever they go next

Pray for a safe journey to Siem Reap tomorrow and back on Sunday

Pray for Chomno (director of CHO) who is still away in America arranging things for CHO

Thank God for those who were healed today

 

 

So, sorry it has been a whole week since my last post! I bet the very few people who read this are absolutely gutted.

But don’t worry cos I have plenty to say today!

So last sunday leading worship at church went really well, despite a few wrong chords and technical hitches! The other English speaking visitors at CHO said they enjoyed singing lots of english songs so that was good! We’re leading some songs tomorrow again so would really appreciate prayer for that again!

The week has been pretty similar to the first week really, carrying on with building the library mainly. But this week we’ve had the chance to do some teaching at the school in Safe Haven which has been an absolute joy. The kids are so eager to learn and call you teacher and are just lovely. We taught english and bible stories this week, alongside a Canadian family who are also working with CHO for the summer.

Also this week we were supposed to plan and run a youth event day for 14-18 year olds…after much planning we were finally prepared, only to arrive at what was actually School on a Mat! Something got lost in translation there…. Much improv drama and songs and games again, think I’ll be pretty good at thinking on my feet by the time we leave!

What was really great this week was that it rained at last! And it didn’t just rain, it poured! All the dust on the road has just turned to thick sloppy mud, lovely. But it is so good for the fields and the farmers. Thanks to the Lord!

With being at Safe Haven most of the time this week we’ve had plenty of time to play with the kids and have really had a lovely time with them. The only downside is that they have discovered how fun shoulder rides and piggy backs are and now constantly jump on us, so every day we come back with sore shoulders and backs! The children in the Safe Haven home barely ever leave Safe Haven because the people who stole them for trafficking are still looking for them. They seem so smiley and carefree but sometimes I just look at them and wonder what they’ve been through. The work that CHO is doing to protect them is just so so important.

So today is Saturday again, our day off! Jonathan Campbell (of GUCU fame) turned up this morning (he heard that the Tearfund team’s banter was so amazing that he came all the way from Vietnam to join in) and we’ve just been out to the market and tried loads of cool food and fruit and also got a Cambodian haircut for 1 dollar. YES YOU HEARD CORRECTLY 1 DOLLAR! Absolute bargain. Sam from the CHO staff turned up randomly and translated our haircut wishes for us and said that we got a special discount because we’re the Tearfund team! Well chuffed!

Well that’s all I can remember right now and I am getting eaten alive by mosquitoes by this computer so once again prayer points below and i promise to blog again soon (less than a week this time…)

 

Love from Cambodiaa

KJB

xxxx

Praaaaayer:

Pray for the children at Safe Haven and their wellbeing and safety

Thanks to God for the rain

Pray for continuing building work, that it wouldn’t be too delayed by the rain and that we would have the energy to get it done quickly and efficiently

As I write this I’m in danger of getting a football kicked in my face so apologies if i lose concentration and start rambling….

The last couple of days here have probably been my favourite so far. On thursday the boys carried on with the building at Safe Haven, and the girls went out to teach at School on a Mat. We got a tuk tuk out there, what an experience. Crazy bumpy roads, 6 of us plus the driver on one motorbike taxi- it was clearly struggling and im almost positive something fell off halfway through the journey. We nearly got chucked off too!!

We had prepared enough stuff to do crafts with around 30 kids, we got there and there was 1oo kids there! Panic stations were manned hastily. We made animal masks with the kids and acted out the story of Noah and the flood with them, and did loads of songs and games. They seemed to enjoy it! We did the same thing in the afternoon with another group of 100 kids, and after were asked to carry on for another hour, cue improv stories and drama and about a million songs. Dancing and jumping around for about 3 hours to entertain so many kids at once is no easy task in this weather! Was so much fun though and the CHO staff said we did a good job! We’ll be teaching at School on a Mat every thursday from now on I think!

On thursday night we had a prayer and praise night in the hotel. We met with the other visitors at CHO, a Canadian family and 3 students from the UK, Australia and Korea. Was a really nice evening meeting with them and praising God together and praying for Cambodia.

On friday morning we were cleaning at the Hope Transform building (the one next to our hotel that is going to house more CHO projects and offices) we struggled a bit with being so tired but eventually got the job done! We’ll be cleaning and working there every friday.

Friday afternoons at CHO they have a prayer meeting with all staff and visitors. I was a bit apprehensive about this as I had been told that it was 3 hours long and was all in Khmer, but it was a really great afternoon. We all prayed together for various CHO projects and Rosa translated for us again so we really were involved. After the meeting we had a music practice for church on sunday. They have asked us to play 4 songs which I think are going to be translated into Khmer so the church can learn them. Our band consists of..Ranti on drums, Paul on guitar, Smai from the CHO staff on bass, and me on keys. The rest of the team are singing and me and Paul are leading the singing too. We had a really good practice but are still pretty nervous about tomorrow!

Later on we went to play with the kids at Safe Haven. It was a really great couple of hours. The kids are getting to know us now and remembering all our names and we just had so much fun! The drive back was ace too, me, Claire, Lauren and Paul were in the back of a pick up truck and the sun was just setting. We got out the guitar and had some singing as we drove through the countryside. It was just one of those moments when you’re like wow, this is ace. I LOVE CAMBODIA.

Today (saturday) is our day off, so we had a lie-in (AMAZING) and just chilled out and some of us skyped home. Tonight we are thinking of checking out this cafe down the street where we’ve heard there is a gig…banter. 

Prayer points below as per.

Must go, my noodle dinner is calling…

KJB

xxx

Praaaaaayer:

A few team members have been ill the last couple of days, please pray that they will be back to full health soon

Please pray for us as we lead the worship tomorrow, that it would being us closer with the CHO church and that we would glorify God

Please please pray for rain here in Cambodia. The locals need the rain to come (it should have started by now) for their crops and especially the rice fields.

Pray for all of CHO’s projects, including agricultural projects, the Safe Haven, and the building at Hope Transform.

HI

So, my last post was pretty long (soz about that) so gonna try and keep this a bit shorter (no promises though…)

It’s been a week now since we left the UK and we’re really settling in here in Poipet and getting into a routine and are pretty close as a team which is just faaab. God has really answered my prayers (and im sure other team-mates prayers) about us getting on and working well together. Before we left I was a bit worried that it might awkward at the beginning of this trip because we didn’t know each other very well, but we have just really gelled and are really enjoying each other’s company. I think it would be appropriate to say that this team has got banter.

I just realised that I haven’t really ‘introduced’ the team yet, as it were.  There’s 11 of us altogether: Me, Alicia, Emma, Pip, Claire, Lauren, Sam, James, Isaac, Oluranti and Paul. So if i mention these names in future posts you know they’re the Tearfund chappies.

So our routine for the last couple of days has been: getting up at 6am (so painful) team devotion at 6.15, breakfast at 7, CHO devotion at 7.30 and then beginning work at 8-8.30, then in the evening after work, a really long shower (get rid of all the lovely sweat) and team devo at 9ish then bed bed bed.

On monday we had a tour of some of CHO’s projects. We went to their HIV/Aids Clinic (the TB ward of which was funded by Tearfund UK). And we went out to one of the villages to see the boys motorbike repair class. Thea (on the CHO staff) who usually gives us our food and who has been driving us our to Safe Haven, told me yesterday that 5 years ago he started going to the CHO motorbike repair class and now he works for CHO, very interesting and encouraging story! We also visited a woman who is supported by CHO’s micro loan project and sews clothes for the market. And we visited one ‘School on a Mat’, literally a school on a mat, the village children come sit on a big mat and the CHO staff teach them english and bible stories. We sang im the king of the jungle for them (Paul Mcfad you would be loving it) and they seemed to enjoy it!

In the afternoon we visited two families who are part of CHO’s agricultural projects and a Safe House where sponsored children are looked after by a CHO church  member. We sang to the kids again and they sang a song for us, it was truly beautiful. I cannot describe how wonderful it is to see these children smile, they are just adorable. I forgot to mention that on sunday the kids at CHO church did a song and dance too, cute as.

CHO start every day with a devotion for all staff and visitors. They have asked us to speak at a few of them each week. On Tuesday Paul, Sam, Lauren and James spoke on John 17, Jesus’ prayer for unity. Today (wednesday) me, Alicia and Isaac spoke on Romans 12, about being humble, living sacrifices for God and thanking him for the gifts he gives us. We had a translator for these devotions. I think I meantioned him in my last post. He is called Rosa and he is 19, a really lovely guy. He comes everywhere with us and is such a blessing in his work. He has also been getting stuck in with all the jobs we’ve been doing and it really feels like he’s part of the team! He’s been giving us Khmer lessons for an hour every afternoon (most of us are pretty rubbish, but he is a very patient person!). He’s giving us a test tomorrow…probs gonna fail that one. Me and Claire tried out our Khmer with some of the kids today, so many blank looks, and confused faces, think we need a bit more practice, it is SUCH A HARD LANGUAGE!!

Yesterday and today we have just been building the library at Safe Haven. We moved a looad of bricks from one end of the centre to the other, hard work in nearly 40 degree heat, and were cementing them and stuff, fun but sooo hot! I got to ride this tractor thingy with a trailer to move all the bricks. May have crashed into a tree but eventually got the hang of it!!

We get time to hang out with the kids on our (frequent) breaks though, some of the girls taught me and Pip how to write out names in Khmer today and found it hilarious when we say anything wrong, and they also tell us their names and then change them the next time someone else asks, just to confuse us and then laugh their heads off. They are so cheeky but we still love them!

Where we are staying is probs what you would call a bit of a dodgy area. The boys have had a few propositions (one in a lift..no escape…awkward) and a couple of times when the girls have walked down to CHO without the boys we get a lot of offers to have a ride on men’s motorbikes. Also been chased by a drunken man… not so fun! And Chomno told us not to leave the hotel after 9 at night. It would be great if you could pray for our safety here.

So, basically having a really good time here! Got lots lined up to get involved with, teaching and more building etc so really looking forward to what is to come and how God will use us! Prayer points below again!

Love from Cambodiaaaaa

KJB

xxx

Praaaaaayer:

Safety around Poipet

We are starting to struggle a bit with tiredness and also with the heat when working, please pray that we would find some more energy and that the weather might cool off a wee bit!

Please pray for us as we prepare talks and devotions to share with CHO, that God would inspire us and that we would glorify him in what we say and do.

Thanks to God  for bringing Rosa to work with us and pray that he would enjoy his time working with us and that we would build a real friendship with him.

 

Sua s’dei! (That’s Hello in Khmer dontcha know?!)

Apologies in advance for the length of this blog, so much happens in one day!!

So, on Saturdayy we got up around 7am (early i know, but wait, it gets earlier) and had our first official team devotion. We’re gonna have these every day to get to know each other better and to spend time focusing on God and whyhe has brought us here. On Saturday we looked at the question of suffering, very relevant considering the nature of this trip. We read a bit from Genesis but mainly from Romans 8 18:25, part of which says:

‘ The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.’

I found this really encouraging: to know that even though we may face hardships here on earth we have heaven and the knowledge that we will be in God’s presence and know his glory to look forward to. Verse 25 says:

‘If we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience’.’

This verse just emphasises the importance of trusting in God’s plans for the future, and living on his time, as it were, as opposed to our time. Things will happen according to his will, not ours, and we must trust in Him and wait patiently. Which is hard of course, but learning to be patient can never be a bad thing.

After our devotion we walked down to CHO for breakfast. The CHO office has a cafe next door to it called the Hope and Health Restaurant, run by CHO, where we have all our meals. I had the best pancakes I’ve ever had in my life! Proper American style pancakes! I was up for trying the Cambodian breakfast, but they have rice and noodles, don’t think I could stomach that so early in the morning! Or 3 times a day for that matter…

Didn’t really do much in the morning, Chomno (director of CHO) told us to rest at the hotel, we were all still pretty knackered from travelling!

After lunch Chomno drove us out to Safe Haven where we will mostly be working during our visit. Safe Haven was a lot bigger than I expected. It is a huuuuge plot of land where they have built a school that teaches Grades 1-5, a children’s home with 3 dorms, a canteen and kitchen, and they have loads of crops and chickens. The crops and the eggs from the chickens are used in CHO’s cafe and they also sell them at the market to gather funds for CHO’s work. Chomno told us that they are hoping to build more school buildings, dorms and a clinic very soon. We saw the beginnings of the library building, which Chomno hopes we will finish before we leave. We’ll be making our own bricks as well with the brick making machine thingy that CHO has at Safe Haven.

In the school there are about 25 kids in each class, compared to 50-60 kids in the public school classes. Chomno told us that the quality of the teaching in the public schools is very low because of this, and that the teachers themselves often haven’t ever finished high school and have had very little training. He told us that the aim of the Safe Haven school is to encourage the kids to be creative and independent thinkers, as in the public schools they learn just by copying out what the teacher writes, whereas at Safe Haven it is more interactive teaching. Chomno said he hopes that the kids at the school go on to become leaders in Cambodia.

Education is obviously very important here: to increase Cambodia’s economy people must learn, but they need better, qualified teachers. This is difficult, the schools seem to be stuck in a cycle of limited education standards, especially with unqualified teachers.

The clinic they are hoping to have built by next year. Healthcare here is really expensive, but people spend a lot of money on it because they don’t know how to look after themselves properly. At the clinic they are planning to set up training classes to teach people about water and sanitation and healthcare.

We asked Chomno what made him start CHO, and he said it was simply because he saw all the children being trafficked across the border and wanted to do something to help stop it. CHO has since expanded from kids work and now does an amazing amount of projects in and around Poipet. It’s unbelievable how much they have achieved in just 9 years.

Later in the afternoon we went to the food market just down the road. It was faaantastic, loads of huts/tents stuck together, with amazing food everywhere (although they were killing chickens right there which was not so fun to watch) there was loads of dried fish, weird looking fish! Everyone started at us and seemed very smiley. Poipet is not a tourist area at all. In one of the team’s guidebook it was described as ‘the armpit of Cambodia’….NICE. We haven’t seen any other Westerners here except for a few other people visiting CHO.

And then there was Sunday… After another team devotion we went to our first church service here. The Church is one big room above the CHO offices. There was about maybe 30ish people there, including us. We all had to stand up and introduce ourselves as the ‘UK team’. The music was….interesting! They seem to be big on synthesized sounds on the keyboard andlots of drums, and clapping, LOTS of clapping. It was lovely to hear them sing in Khmer though. They sang some English songs and had translations for them which was nice as we could join in. They also had a translator for us so we could understand the sermon. We were chatting to him today and he has also just arrived at CHO, and is staying here for a couple of months before going on to university in Thailand. The people here are basically doing everything they can to be accommodating and helpful. They are so kind to us and it’s just great to spend time with them and learn about their country.

After church we went to the market again, and got a tuk-tuk back to CHO after. That”s a Cambodian taxi, essentially just a scooter with seats and a roof attacked and another wheel, that’s a rubbish description, google it to find a picture!! I’ll just say it was an experience….

In the afternoon we went to Safe Haven to play games with the kids. They are absolutely beautiful childern. Adorable, cute, i could go on forever!! The lads started up a game of football, and the girls played frisbee and catch and stuff with the other kids. They particularly enjoyed playing limbo under a skipping rope, shouting out ‘Limbo Limbo’ all the time and screaming laughing!

Later we went to another of CHO’s projects. They have a big building right next door to our hotel, which they are turning into a cafe, more CHO offices, a conference room, and housing for girls they save from the brothels. They have so many things happening here and it’s amazing how God has provided the means and the funds for CHO to accomplish and run all their projects.

Chomno and his wife Kim took us out for dinner to one of the casinos next to the border last night. It”s crazy how there are these massive hotel and casino complexes right next to slums and clear poverty.

In conclusion (FINALLY) having a really great and interesting time here in Cambodia. Team banter is also great, we’re really getting along well which is fab! Some prayer points again down below….

Love from Cambodia

KJB

xxx

ps its 37 degrees here today- SWEATFEST

Praaaaaayer

One of the girls on the team, Emma, has not been well this morning, please pray that she will feel better soon

We are building the library tomorrow at Safe Haven, it’s probably going to be crazy hot again, please pray that we would be able to work effectively and get a lot done despite the heat

That we would continue to get on well with the staff at CHO and begin to build real friendships with them

Prayer for all CHO’s projects (more info on them soon) and thanks to the Lord for what has already been accomplished here and what is to come in the future

Hello from Cambodia!

Finally got here after a very long journey, stopover in Mumbai (crazy hot) and a night stay in Bangkok where we had some interesting food! A few new experiences…like fitting 14 people plus luggage into one taxi and some crazy thai driving (bumpy bumpy, don’t think they’ve heard of brakes or suspension damage) and here we are!

Got met at the airport by Reitreay and another guy whose name i can’t pronounce but I already love him because he’s so happy and loved practising his English with us! The drive from Bangkok was fun with team singing sessions and car games in abundance. Westopped for lunch on the way and had ‘soupy-soup’ as Reitreay called it. Basically we had a hob on our table and they put loads of veg and noodles in it and then gave us a huge plate of seafood and tofu to cook in it ourselves, was yummy!

Hotel we are staying in (Ly Heng Cheeay Hotel) is pretty nice and literally down the street from CHO! Looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep tonight after what feels like endless planes and taxi journeys!

Haven”t done that much since we arrived, unpacked, got changed from yucky sweaty travelling clothes, and had some team banter! Went for dinner with some people from CHO tonight, met Chomno, the head of CHO and got a rough schedule for the week. Looks like we’ll be building a library at the Safe Haven centre all next week and doing sports with the kids in the school!

Tomorrow we are having a tour of Poipet from Thea at Cho, a really nice smiley guy who we met at dinner, and then Sunday we’ll be at Church and doing Sunday School in the afternoon.

We have free internet access in the hotel so hopefully will be able to update this blog fairly regularly!

Prayer points below….

Lots of love from Cambodia

KJB (and Pip (off of Team Cambodia 2011 laaad says HIYA)

xxx

Praaaaaayerrrr:

Safety as we travel around Poipet tomorrow

That we would be able to communicate with the staff at CHO easily, and that the language barrier would not be so much of a barrier!

That the team would continue to grow closer and be focused on our jobs here

That we would recover from travelling quickly and be ready for working/building on monday

About Me

20, Christian, Welsh, English Lit student at Glasgow, about to spend the month of July in Poipet, Cambodia with Tearfund working for the Cambodian Hope Organisation

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