An Average Night

Photo Bohdan WarchomijChhot Srey Neang and siblingAs the US lies heartbroken in the incomprehensible aftermath of events at Sandy Hook, CCF continues its steady unrelenting mission to provide for the kids of Steung Meanchey, the community living at the edge of the former Phnom Penh municipal dump.

On last evening’s walkabout I accompanied Scott and the fabulous CCF Directors from the Australian office. Here is a list of the highlights:

• Played tag with a handful of kids at the Community Center until I was exhausted – They Won!
• Helped give out “Best Student” awards to kids that beamed with pride.
• Challenged an outdoor classroom filled with little ones to a “sing off” of “If you are happy and you know it” – They Won!
• Comforted a lost child until the staff could find out where she lived and get her home to her mom.
• Stopped off to see one of our most recently found teen girls who is without parents, at 15 has never been to school and was on the verge of going to work in a garment factory. She has just moved into our facility for older girls where she is surrounded by love, new companions, health care and the chance to learn vocational skills.
• Stopped off to visit one of our favorite grandmothers who tells me all her problems in Khmer which I cannot understand and gratefully receives small gifts of cookies and sweets we bring her. She Wins!
• Walked for hours through the so called village avoiding the usual amount of garbage, rubbish, puddles of mud and scary dogs.
• Stopped in to say hi and check on any number of familiar families and kids.
• Scott found a girl with a raging fever. Perhaps Dengue – which sounds terrifying to Westerners but more common than you imagine here. Called CCF emergency staff and put her on the back of a moto with staff and 2 sisters and off they went to the hospital. Not a fancy emergency car or paramedics but equally as effective.
• Found a devoted sister carrying her young sibling who is obviously in need of medical attention and nutrition and made arrangements for follow up care.
• Watch the older kids take responsibility for distributing dozen of cans of Pediasure, clothes and mosquito nets to eager hands.
• Returned home to a very cold, very cheap Cambodian beer and writing emails to staff for immediate follow up on cases.

As Scott said to our Aussie visitors: “A pretty average night.”


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