There are so many amazing things about being part of this project. Every day brings a new surprise and we are surrounded by endless little miracles in all forms. Without a doubt though the highlight for me is interacting with the children. They are such beautiful souls, and what we are doing for them pales in comparison to what they have given me already.
As part of our role here we are asked to run a series of workshops with the students. In week 2 I ran my first workshop with our friend Viane, in which we taught the kids how to make friendship bracelets. Given V and I don’t speak Khmer, and the kids don’t speak english it was always going to be a good laugh, but what unfolded next really made me smile. We learnt very quickly that communicating with the kids has almost nothing to do with talking. We held up coloured pieces of paper and called out the english words, which were repeated immediately. Using some pantomime we acted out friendship and giving the bracelets we made to someone we care about. The kids filed up to the front of the room and asked us for three colours of their choosing in english, and then off they went. Some of the students were far more skilled in the art of bracelet making than the teachers, but it didn’t matter. There was riotous laughter and the class was a great success.
At the end of the class, 2 of the girls approached me shyly and gave me the bracelets they had made – it was so sweet.
There is no sound which warms your heart more than a child laughing uncontrollably. This is a sound that we are blessed enough to listen to every single day both on site and in the village. I’m unsure whether it’s because we have been stripped of all the creature comforts we are used to in life, or whether it’s just me gaining perspective on things, but when I hear that sound it reminds me to stop and appreciate the small things of beauty which are all around us everyday. The butterflies floating effortlessly past with the breeze, the way the sun lights the sky on fire every evening as it sinks below the horizon, the stillness of the earth in the hour before dawn and the smiles received by the local villagers on our way to work every morning.
These aren’t things which are unique to my new location, indeed they have always been around me every day, but very rarely have I stopped to truly be grateful for them. It’s incredibly liberating to stop and be present to life’s little gifts, and I thank these beautiful kids for opening my eyes to that every day.