Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Changes in the villages

My daily job often changes. These last two weeks I was able to work with a team of ladies from Brisbane who came over here to lead classes on women's health in two different villages. It was amazing because they brought Days For Girls kits to give the women at the end of the classes. These kits offer reusable pads so that the women can maintain normal lives during the WHOLE month. A person starts realizing the necessity of reusable pads when you see how much rubbish the world does use and toss out. The thought of "stinky river" is enough to change a person.

It's amazing and painful at the same time. In fact it's one of the many reasons I have switched to using reusable things during my menstruation. This could be game changing for the women of the village of Koki especially because they live out in the middle of nowhere and have nothing available to them. When the price of a package of pads costs more than a weeks income there is a problem!

I have three favorite parts from this trip. Here they are:

1. Getting to know the women in Taskor Village (the one where SALT school is and we are building bamboo houses). I know just enough Khmer to connect with the women and create instant friends. It helps that my name is also a Khmer word so they can remember it easier. (It means promise, fyi) I don't normally get to visit with the local women because I am more often in the school working with Diep and the other teachers. Those three days were AMAZING. I loved most every minute. It was balm for the community section of my heart. We all laughed (especially when I told all my classic foreign language jokes: Said in local language I'm *Khmer/insert country of habitation*. I can't speak *Khmer/language of habitation* because it's so so hard.) and friendships were born.

I loved going out to the iblock of land and having women come up to me to talk saying my name and building on our friendship. Sheesh, I love my job.

My two favorite women. 
The sweetest grandma and her beautiful grandson.
The babies are so beautiful. 
So sweet! Especially when asleep ;)
2. When were in Koki for the weekend conducting classes. The dynamics of this village are much different and I was able to help keep the kids out of their mothers hair during the classes. It wasn't easy at first, the kids didn't know what to do with me. Their village is so far away from anything that they were very cautious of a new person, which is good and reasonable. I sat quietly and they slowly made their way over to me. There was a little boy holding a baby quite close to me so I poked the lil' guys belly and prevented tears by distracting him/her. The connection with the lil' one helped the girls get closer and soon I had the girls putting flowers in my hair and the boy plopped the baby in my lap meaning I was accepted, a safe person and their new friend. We spent the rest of the morning playing in the dirt getting quite dirty. We found empty water bottles and filled them with the tiny rocks making musical instruments, bowling pins and even cars to roll down the dirt hills. I didn't take any pictures because to do so would have distracted all of them from playing and I wanted to be present. There were a few expats who did get pictures but I haven't seen them yet. The whole morning was magical for me. It was what I have been missing from my life these last few months, pure innocent interaction with kids. I had forgotten how much I missed it. I can't wait to get back up to Koki and continue empowering the kids and helping them want to attend school regularly. 

3. The last bit that makes me so happy is from the class. On the last day in Koki after all the classes were over the ladies leading out asked if anyone wanted to stand up and share with the group what they learned by explaining the kit. There were two who stood up; a young girl and an older women. They were able to explain the whole kit, health bits and even include the same jokes! It means that they heard, understood and can share with others! That is exactly what we want to happen!!!! It means that when we do follow ups we can start with those two and get them to help follow up with the others! It means that progress is happening! 

So anyway, those are the three highlights from my last few weeks. It was a busy team trip but worth everything to have those moments. 

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1 comment:

Christoffer said...

I'm not good but for very brief bursts with the childrens, but rolling cars down hills sounds heaps fun. Good call on refraining from the picture-taking. Glad Koki was a success!