Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cambodia Part 4...

Hey Mom! Here's another email...

I can''t remember where I last left you, but I think it was at the end of last week...So, here is this week's news....
Monday we got to meet with the people at IJM (International Justice Mission)...We were lucky enough to be able to meet them at their headquarters here...It was so cool to hear about what they do...Here in Cambodia, they focus on the sex slavery and brothels and such...They have people who are undercover investigators who go in and rescue underage girls from the brothels here in Cambodia, with Phnom Penh (the city we stay in) being a big target...They not only rescue the girls, they care for them and teach them that they are valueable people...In the brothels they lose a lot of sense of themselves and face stuff I would only have nightmares about...Everyone working there is very smart and they don't make decisions without doing their homework....
Tuesday morning we went to an orphange named Happy Tree that is specifically for children with HIV/AIDS...That was awesome...As soon as we walked in the kids were all over us, just grabbing our hands and just wanting to be touched...It was pretty overwhelming at first...I brought my guitar out and I swear like twenty-five kids flocked to me...After I played for a few minutes I let them strum while I did the chords and played my harmonica on the harmonica brace you got me....It was soooo much fun...The kids loved it and just kept passing the pick around...There was also this kid I met named Mein there whom I got pretty close to...Near the end of our time he was dressed for school and he brought out his school supplies and workbooks from his backpack and showed me all his assignments and smiled and pointed to the pages he got 10/10 on...I knew very very little Khmer and he knew no english, but that barrier was completely surpassed by love and care and something as simple as a smile...
That afternoon we went to a place they call Rubbish Mountain, which is their dump...The crazy thing is that there are a ton of people living there in communities...We brought in some water and food to give away, and people just rushed to us to us and in a matter of seconds we had given everything away....Then we left...It all happened so fast I still can't process it...Now, I know there can be critics on what we did, and we were some of the hardest ones ourselves...We realize that just giving stuff away sometimes can be super selfsih on our part and relationships are where it is at...Those people will not be rescued from poverty by us visiting...They will be rescued by being educated or learning a trade and going somewhere with it...There was nothing wrong with what we did, but it was not the most effective, and we know that...There is so much we talked about pertaining to this I really cannot type it all...I will tell you more when I get back home...
Yesterday (Wednesday) we visted a place called RDI (Rural Development International)....This place was something I was really interested in...A chemistry professor at a college in Buffalo started this project to create water pots that filter water and a well drilling project....But he was different than the big organizations you hear about...They are not dumb...a lot of the time big organizations like UNICEF drill wells and don't test the water, resulting in something like 7% of their wells being contaminated in Asia....They more or less throw money at the problem...RDI staffs people who know what they are doing and do their homework on locations and then keep cost down on the projects so villages can split cost and afforda well or filter...They also create job opportunites for ladies with pottery and alos teach farmers how to have self-sustaining animal farms and help them start those...In the afternoon, we actually go to helkp make the filter pots and package them, which was cool...

But I have to go now, so sorry...I will try to get pictues up tonight if I can...Tell everyone I said hi!

P.S....I am going to the Royal Palace in 10 min... :)

Voohey::
::Jake

6 comments:

James said...

RDI is the business. Jenny Alwardt (graduated last year) actually did here internship with them in Cambodia. I've thought about it, myself =P

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