This is not going to be the usual read where you will get some tips to kick ass your life or questions to set you reflecting about yourself. I’m here for the sole reason of sharing my experience when I revisited the Cambodian kids during Christmas last year.
It’s been a year since I step into the village, talk and play with the “forever-smiley” kids. I’ve seen them from photographs sent by friends over in Cambodia but nothing compares to hugging and running around with them. And… nothing beats having a mud war with them at the river.
When the bus makes its way from the bustling streets of Phnom Penh to the rural mudtracks of the village, my heart beats faster with anticipation and my palms get sweaty. This might sound a little ridiculous, I know, because I do not even expect myself to feel this way before the trip. It was a rejoicing moment when the kids spotted us (they didn’t know we are coming). Hugs, laughters and tears were exchanged.
One year has gone by and most children remain the same as they were as I last remembered. Still as mischievous, lazy and energetic. Some changed a lot, becoming more studious, mature and well-groomed. The most remarkable transformation I seen was this young boy. He was loud, and as playful as a monkey, pulling tricks on the people around him. This time, he is very well-mannered and thoughtful. Less pranks and talks slower, so much so I almost could not recognize him at first. The few of us were wondering what causes the change in him and wanted to ask but we did not.
For the village, there are also some significant changes. The roads/mudtracks are less bumpy. Some houses become larger and better equipped. I heard that in order to build a better shelter, some children would have to forgo their full time studies and study part-time. I guess they made these changes to fulfill their essential and immediate needs.
This trip has created new friendship and bonded existing friendship. The memories I have with them, I will deeply treasure them in my heart.