• War, Peace and Reconciliation in Cambodia

A Gift of a Lifetime

Today was the second day of working with Life and Hope. Since we went shopping for the family and got tools for the monks yesterday, we delivered them when we arrived in the morning. The monks, knowing that we got tools for them, went ahead and built a beautiful new tool box for themselves out of scraps of wood. Not only were we surprised by that, but also the progress on the house. The frame, the roof, and one wall were complete by the time we started our day.

The plan was the same as yesterday, the guys were able to help nail and saw, while the girls picked up trash and scraps of wood to make the house cleaner. Since working with the monks, we have learned a lot more about their customs and way of life. They are very caring, and dedicated to helping women and children better their lives. We have noticed that over the past few day it is customary for the monks to start eating lunch around 11:30 because they cannot eat past twelve o'clock. It is also tradition that we have to wait for them to be done eating before we are able to start our meal.

Since there wasn't a lot of work for the men to do, and the girls aren't allowed to help due to cultural reasons, we spent most of the day playing with the kids from the neighborhood. We brought with us a Chinese hacky sack and a soccer ball, which the kids absolutely loved. Aside from that, there have been numerous tag sessions and fun piggy back rides. It seems that the kids can't get enough and always want to play.

Once the kids went to school in the afternoon, we pretty much sat around and watch the house get built. A few of us worked on journals, read books, played cards, and passed the soccer ball around. It's interesting to see how the monk work together and can finish a house in 3 days. Watching this happen, made us all excited to see how the family would react at the dedication later this afternoon.

Once the house was finished, the monks gathered everyone together to get a picture with all the workers and students with the new home owners. We then proceeded into the house for a blessing.There were a lot of elders of the village present to say a prayer with the monks. After, we gave some house warming gifts to the mother and the boy, including floor mats, rice, and blankets. It was a great experience to be a part of because we all know that we made a difference in this family's life and gave them a brighter future.

The sign that is nailed on the newly built house!
A popular game of duck, duck, goose lasted an hour!
This is the complete house with the woman and her 12 year old son that will live there.
A better view of the completed house.
This incredible blessing consisted of chanting and the giving of gifts.