With our regular newsletters, we aim to keep you posted on all the interesting and important news and updates of our programs and various activities. Enjoy reading!
Dear friends and partners, Happy Khmer New Years everyone. You know Khmer New Years is one of the big holidays here, a time when all Cambodians travel home to be with family and friends. A time when those who came before and have passed on our remembered and honored. It’s a time for festivities, eating and dancing and buying new clothes. Khmer New Years is a very important time of the year for all Cambodians.
For the families in our program, Khmer New Years is often a time of sadness and despair. Despite the expectations, many of our families are unable to buy new clothes, eat a variety of foods, welcome and visit with family members – and so they don’t join in with the festivities.
A week before Khmer New Years – our community development staff and I met. We talked about how things were going. I heard stories of families who had received field wells – these are wells that provide enough water for several hectares of land. The best account involved our families in Battambang and Pursat projects – families who had received wells and ponds over the past 6 months – they were earning up to $12.00 a day for their produce – unheard of for us – miracles for our families. Their Khmer New Years would be good.
Last week, the week after Khmer New Years we had visitors who wanted to see the impact of the field wells they had so generously donated. I too, wanted to see what was happening. So we went to Kandal province. As we were driving through the area, we saw sporadic fields of green rice and vegetables. They were from our field wells. We stopped and talked with 15 families who had received these wells. They were growing summer rice, green tomatoes, spring onions, etc. It was fun to chat with the families, their eyes spoke of their joy. The men folk were all present – proud to give us some of their produce – proud to show us what they had done.
As we turned to leave one of the women spoke. She said, “This is the first time, we had enough food to eat, enough money to buy clothes. For the first time, we could sing and dance with everyone – we could celebrate. But what is best is that, after all that celebrating, we still have food to eat, work to do and money to earn. Thank you for that.”
I felt so humbled by these people. They work so very hard and they have so little. They are grateful for the water you all so generously donate – yet it is they, who work so very hard – who struggle so very much. It is I who says thank you to each of our families for showing me what the human spirit is – to work with joy and thanksgiving – to be able to celebrate with song and dance and to be grateful for each blessing.
I came back from Khmer New years and my emails spoke of grade 1’s who had done chores, of Grade 5’s who had a jump a thon , of other Grade 5’s who did a walkathon, of a mum who had written a children’s book about “I hate Peas” and donated all the proceeds to Tabitha, about 28 other mums who came with a gift of more wells – and the stories continue. Because of all of you, so many more of our families will celebrate Khmer New Years.
For me, I celebrate each day because my God has sent each of you into our lives. And I am humbled because you give with joy and thanksgiving so that others can live with joy and thanksging. Life cannot get any better than this. Happy Khmer New Years everyone.