Dear friends and partners, Today is the last day of our program year and what a year it has been. We had so many goals – so much we wanted to do. We had so many dreams we wanted to achieve – dreams that each of you made happen. Let me share some of our highlights.
Dear friends and partners, A second letter in two weeks – a bit of a record even for me – but yesterday was a day to remember. Srie and I went to Tram Kok , Takeo project. It is nestled under the Damrie (Rolling Elephant Mountains) – an apt name as two years ago – the mountains had rolled and there was a now a new fissure separating two of the mountains. People had been urged to move away but none had.
Dear friends and partners, Yesterday I visited one of our new project areas – Preah Vihear – infamous for its border clashes with Thailand. It was quite a trip. We left very early in the morning – our first hour was in darkness – little traffic but good speed. When the sun finally arose – we were met with great beauty – first, early floods in a number of areas and then several hundreds of miles of rice fields – in all my 18 years here – I have never seen rice fields in August. Srie and I marveled at the life it represented – at the hope and dreams – at the unusual changes in weather that made this happen.
Dear friends and partners, I received a report today – it’s from one of my managers and a family she works with. People are always asking me how this all works. This report tells how it works but it’s in their words – not mine. The English is not terrific and the grammar not the best but I do believe that they express themselves better than I ever could. Let me share this with you.
Dear friends and partners, It is the time of year when we begin our detailed planning and budgets for our next program year beginning in September. The planning process always begins with the development staff spending 4 days together in several of our project areas followed by two days of meetings in Phnom Penh. This year the staff went to Banteay Meanchaey, Battambang and Pursat projects. The purpose is to see the innovations taking place, to discuss better ways of doing our work and to discuss expansion for the upcoming program year. As usual, the time spent together is very much enjoyed.
Dear friends and partners, It has been a rather hot few weeks – the weather patterns have changed yet again – for me, I have relief – I have air-conditioning and I have water – both very vital in providing some relief from the relentless heat. For so many of our families, neither option is available so life can be difficult. For others, water is a new resource. One of our strengths in Tabitha is that we are not constrained by conformity where everybody has to do exactly the same thing or have exactly the same type of well.
Dear friends and partners, Happy Khmer New Years. Yes, we are fortunate here in Cambodia, we get to celebrate several New Years but for us, this is the best one. Next week, we close for a whole week; everyone goes home to celebrate with family and friends the year that was and the year that is just beginning.
Dear friends and partners, A few weeks ago I was asked a question – are you sure there are 8 people in a family that Tabitha serves? It’s a fair question and one that I thought deserved a fair answer. Over the past two weeks I have made project visit to our projects in Kep/Kampot – Kampong Channang, Pursat and Battambang. It has been an education in so many ways.
Dear friends and partners, It’s been a week of mixed emotions. Pat, our manager in Prey Veng, asked that I come. Pat is one of our senior managers; he has been with us almost from the beginning. Pat’s area is one of our toughest. In the areas we work, the poverty is rather stark. Pat wanted me to see Prek Komdieng, an area we have worked in since 1998. It was always frustrating to visit because, despite a lot of effort, very little has changed.
Dear friends and partners, Happy New Year’s everyone. May 2011 be filled with the blessings that you have brought to so very many. For myself, the new years has started well. I am back at work with very little restrictions, doing what I am meant to do. That is so very good.