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March 2014

Dear friends and partners,

Yesterday my daughter Miriam and I went out to the projects – Miriam for a class assignment – myself to check on some of our work. It is the time of year when Miriam begins asking about what I want for my birthday – it’s a conversation we have each year – my birthday is in April and coincides with Easter. My normal quick response is a hug and a kiss – a response that my girl just ignores – what do you really want? As Miriam was taking pictures for her school assignment – her empathy for the people in our communities – for the children – leave her emotionally drained – “They are so very beautiful – they are so poor – why mama, why?”

February 2014

Dear friends and partners,

It seems that time just flies by these days. We have been blessed with a large number of house building teams and visitors. That is always good. With the visitors, many of whom are donors, we have opportunity to show them what all of you have been helping the people we work with to achieve. An extra ordinary gift.

 

November 2013

Dear Friends and partners,

The months of October and November are always very busy months for us at Tabitha. A large number of house building teams as well as visitors come and spend some time with us. I often wonder the impact of these visits on our visitors – The impact on our families that I know!  As the holiday season approaches I would like to share some of these moments.

September 4, 2013

Dear friends and partners,

Today we have ended our past year of work – a year when so many dreams and journeys came to fruition – a year when we graduated 25,446 families with 203,568 dependents. Graduation is not the normal expectations of receiving a grade or an award – for Tabitha Cambodia and the families we work with it is simply a stage in a journey when our families have moved from absolute poverty to middle class rural families. It marks a journey where our families have achieved the basic necessities of life such as ….

May 15, 2013

Dear friends and partners,

For many schools in South East Asia the school year is coming to an end. With the ending there is always the planning of the next school year. May I ask all house building teams to submit their dates for house building for the following school year – for teams that are not a school – if you are planning on coming – could you send us your dates – the house building calendar is filling up fast and we would like to make sure that we provide the best service that we can to all of our teams. Thanks so much.

With the year end looming in schools, my daughter Miriam, like so many others is going through the process of tests, papers, etc. One of these was for mathematics – something that Miriam tolerates but says – gee mum, do you even use these functions? Yes, I said – help me with the statistics for this particular family – and so we sat down and did some basic functions.

April 23, 2013

Dear friends and partners,

Yesterday was a rather special day. Yesterday I was given an award by the Prime Minister of Cambodia: Samdech Hun Sen. It was also my 65th birthday and I received an award that was created in the year I was born. It was a special day because I didn’t expect this high an honor – it was special because the award was given in the back of beyond – in a small rural village where we have built a school, do savings and put in wells – the protocol people had been phoning a number of times – where was I – I was on a road with potholes large enough to swallow the car. It was very special because the honor was given amongst the people we have come to serve – 6000 villagers – people we work with were there to share the honor with me. It was an honor because it was given with pleasure and received with a deep sense of humbleness and thanksgiving.

April 4, 2013

Dear friends and partners,

On April 17,  we commemorate the end of the indiscriminate bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War and the beginning of a horrific era of unimaginable genocide and isolation committed by the infamous Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. The suffering and total destruction of Cambodia was a 30 year long life span which did not end until 1998.

Today – this April in 2013 we are celebrating a new beginning - and we are celebrating worldwide. We are celebrating the beginning of the construction of Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital – 400 pilings have been completed – another 800 to go. It is a celebration of all the women in Cambodia –for whom 85%  do not have even the basic access to health care – women whom by the time they are 14 are suffering discharges and pain that bring shame and fear into their lives – who die too young and spend their adult lives wondering why.  It is time to stop that horrible suffering.

 

March 28, 2013

Dear friends and partners,

With this newsletter, I would like to share a few thoughts with you. This Easter time has provided me with a few spare moments to reflect on who I am, what I am doing and why I am doing it.

My passion for the people of Cambodia started many years ago when the bombing and genocide were taking place in this country. I knew then as I know today, that this is the country I must serve. I am a woman of extraordinary passion - that makes me different from many others. My passion is rooted in the pain I see in others - pain that I know I can impact and not turn away from.

Like all people, I am terribly ignorant of all the types of pain people suffer. I have also discovered over the past 35 years that helping to ease pain is something which is learned not from books but from life itself. Over the years I have learned the pitfalls of community development. I have also learned that there are better ways to do it - not because some book told me or some professor taught it - but because I could see and feel whether or not what I did actually alleviated the pain.

February 2013

 

Dear friends and partners,

A very happy Chinese New Years to all our Asian friends and partners. This week we are hoping to bring a gift to all of you. It was meant to be a Christmas present, then a 2013 New Years present but now it’s a Chinese New Years gift to all of you. It is our new and refurbished Tabitha Cambodia web site – a web site that gives an overview of what we do, where we do it and our progress for this current program year – it’s about all of you and how you stand with us – it’s about our families and their steps to prosperity.

 I would like to share one of these stories. Oy Tien and her husband live in Kep. They have three children and 2 hectares of land. Four years ago, life was extremely difficult - the land lay barren and they lived in a bamboo shack. They got a field pond from us and life changed – they began to grow crops all year round – 3 crops of rice and 3 crops of corn – the rice yield doubled from 2 tons per harvest to four tons per harvest – enough to eat and enough to sell – they began to raise fish for family consumption, raised chickens and ducks and raised pigs – from their incomes they started a small shop which has grown and now includes several tables and chairs for people to eat.

 

December 18,2012

Dear friends and partners,

Yesterday was a special day – special because my daughter Miriam and three of her friends came along on a site visit. It’s not often that these young ladies can come as their lives at 14 are rather busy with school and home activities. We went to Kampong Speu to see a school in the process of being built. As we passed through the village where these children live we were reminded of how blessed we are – a small wooden building held two classes – open air and on the corner of a dusty and very hot road crossing – the girls remained quiet. We passed by homes made of thatch and straw – not much in or around them. We arrived at the new school being built – we walked into the old wooden structure – with holes in the roof and sagging support posts in danger of collapse – all of us were a bit nervous to stay inside.  We were surrounded by children of all shapes and sizes – over 1100 students in those few rooms - my girls were nervous and a bit overwhelmed. 

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