Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Don't close your eyes....part 2

Just as construction here goes at a breakneck speed, the changes I see in the kids as they get to know us is also astounding.  They are like sponges and absorb new concepts rapidly.

Most of them are receiving some formal English language training, so some speak and understand a bit of English.  Some don't at all, but I manage with my limited Khmer, sign language and the occasional translation.  Most difficult for me has been to learn 32 new names, (not inclufding the 20 staff & volunteers), mostly Khmer names, and totally unlike any names in the western world.  I get them mixed up, and forget.  (It's an age thing, I guess.)  So now we have posted photos of the staff and kids and labelled them with their names, which hopefully will make things easier.

All Cambodians find my name difficult.  'Dorothy' ends up being 'Dorofee' since the 'th' sound is nonexistant in Khmer.  The 'f' sound is also impossible for them, so 'Dorothy Griffith! comes out 'Dorofee Grippit'.  Works for me.

I thought it might be interesting for you to get to know some of the children...so I'll introduce them to you a few at a time...
Here goes....  
Than, Roeurn, Yoeng, and Riem
Last Monday a family of four children came to Honour Village.  Their mother had died, and the father had remarried a woman with two children of her own.  As is often the case, they simply couldn't afford to feed all of the children, and (I believe) it is customary in this country to give priority to the new wife's children.  Sometimes the children go to live with their grandmother, but in this case, all four went to an orphanage.

Big sister Than

Roeurn (or is it Yoeng?)

Yoeng (or is it Roeurn?)

Baby brother, Riem (3 y/o)
 On day one, Riem cried and whined all day.  He was anxious about his new surroundings, but his big sister, Than, kept him near to her side and mothered him.  He is currently sleeping in the girls' dormitory with Than, but will reside in the 'young children's dormitory' with his two older brothers once he has adjusted. 
Than helps Riem finish up lunch
At 3 years old, Riem still needs his morning nap.  Once he naps, he is a much happier boy.
Me and Riem having a nap

What a difference a nap makes!

When I first arrived, I noticed one older boy who was quite aggressive, especially with the younger children.  His name is Chea (same pronounciation as Chia).  I learned that Chea came from a troubled background, (no specifics -(I probably would be heartbroken to know details anyway).  I don't think he speaks any English, and I think he is behind in school.
It dawned on me that the little children tended to be the ones whom visitors and new volunteers immediatedly gravitated toward, and the older children took a back seat.  Not unusual, since those wee ones are just so adorable.  I wondered if Chea just might be a bit jealous, and just needed a bit more attention, so I started to spend more time with him, and give him hugs when I arrived and left.  In only just a few days, he has responded to the extra attention.  He doesn't seem to be mean to the little kids as much and is becoming such a joy.  When he gets back from school, he comes to me for his hug, and he hugs back.  Yesterday when I was getting ready to leave, he rushed across the field to hug me goodbye.  It's a big step.

Khanit is a joyful little 3 year old.  I don't know how long he has been at Honour Village, but he is always busy and plays hard.  He is one of these children that immediately grabs your attention and your heart.  He is very bright and seems to know how to say a lot of English words & phrases, but I'm not sure he knows what they mean.  He seems older than his years, but at 3, he still needs his morning nap.


Tuckered out

A soft shoulder beats a hard chair any day
This is Rethy.  He's a bright little boy who is very sensitive and has a soft heart.  I often see him sitting off by himself when we are playing with the other children, sulking and sometimes with a tear down his cheek, and I wonder what he is thinking or why he is so upset.  When he is like this, I have tried to get him to join in our fun, and I have tried to sit quietly with him, neither of which works.  At other times, he is happy, like in this picture.  He is more often to be found playing or drawing quietly by himself, rather than with all the children.  He is quite artistically talented.  It may take me more time to get to know him, and more time for him to warm up, and I am hoping we can become friends before I leave. 

Here's a pic of me and the kids clowning around.

 It hurts me to think what goes on in the heads of some of these little people.  I can't imagine what they feel, but I take comfort in knowing that Honour Village is giving them a good safe home with plenty of food, love and attention.  If I can add just one little bit, and touch just even one life, then all this was totally worthwhile.

If you are interested in sponsoring one of these children, or any others I will be writing about, you can contact this link.  It's one way of making a difference.   

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