“Smile and wave boys, smile and wave.”
This has been our motto for the first week here in Phnom Penh, Cambodia! Most of the Young Life staff can speak English but many of the kids/teens we meet don’t know any past a basic “Hello, how are you?” So we have been smiling, waving, and laughing, laughing a lot as laughter has no language barrier. We don’t mind though because the people of Cambodia are the friendliest people that we’ve ever encountered! They jump at every chance to help and tell us that we’re pretty, which is something that we all obviously appreciate 🙂
We’ve done so much in just one week so I’ll give just a couple highlights:
1) Visiting the S-21 Genocide Museum. One of the most haunting and saddest places I’ve been to yet also so amazing because of how knowledged everyone is about their country’s history. We had the privilege of meeting one of the seven people that survived this torture prison. If you don’t know about the Khmer Rouge, I suggest reading this website. http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/pol-pot.htm
2) Attended a Khmer church called New Life. Worshipping in English while they sang in Khmer was such a surreal moment. I felt God present even when I had no idea what they were saying, I never thought that would happen. We’ve encountered so many kids who are the only ones in their family that know Jesus yet their faith is so incredibly strong. I am truly humbled and inspired.
3) We danced K-Pop in the middle of their main park. Katie is a great dancer and fit right in, Meghann and I on the other hand were not so good. However, the people around us got some good laughs and that’s all that matters!
4) Every Sunday the boys play soccer. And no it’s not just pick up games. They have jerseys with their names on them, there’s a referee, a scoreboard and standings. It’s amazing to see how it’s different from US soccer, no one faked injuries and they are nice to each other even when on opposing teams. I can’t wait to cheer my center on next week!
5) We eat… a lot. I swear they want to fatten us up because whenever we go anywhere they are always trying to get us to eat. Now I’m not usually one to complain (plus the food here is delicious) but there comes a point where I physically cannot eat anymore. Oh and the coffee here tops any coffee I’ve had in Seattle… I didn’t think that’d be possible! We eat a lot of mangos and other fruits picked right from the trees in our backyard, YUM!
6) Khmer cheese isn’t cheese… it’s old, aged fish….
We officially start teaching our classes on Monday so prayers are greatly appreciated!
Jum Reab Lea (Goodbye!)
-Team Cambodia (Dina, Meghann & Katie)