Tuesday, January 20, 2009

early morning

Today we met in the lobby at 8am and went out of the busy city to visit an HIV/AIDS clinic and small school for children. On our way there, I noticed how resourceful the people of Cambodia are. They use things in their daily lives that many of us would consider garbage. The clinic and school was located on a small dirt road. Our bus driver had to get out to move rocks so that our bus could travel on the road.

When we arrived at the school, we met the man in charge of the clinic and he showed us around the complex. There was a big building full of girls who were learning a trade so that they would be less likely to be trafficked in the larger cities. Then we went over and visited a classroom where the children were learning English. The children were so cute! We gave them all fake tattoos and talked to them and it was really fun. To see how happy they were with such a small gift was really heart-warming. After about 20 minutes with the children, we visited some of the HIV/AIDS patients at the complex. There was a little girl, a little oder then a month who had lost her mother and has HIV. She was very weak when she first arrived there but she looks so much better now. Her smile was beautiful and she did the wai for all of us ,it was really cute. There were also a few older Cambodians who were so weak when they first arrived. After resting and getting medicine, they seemed so much happier and had hope for the future.

One of the most difficult things to see at the clinic was a small boy who was 13 but looked like he was 8. He was there, with HIV because his mother remarried and the new husband didn't want him so they sent him there. She still comes to visit him every month but it is just sad that some parents can just give up their children like that. Even though the situation was grim for a lot of the people there, they were happy to be in a community where everyone helped everyone and took care of each other. The children were always smiling, reading and playing.

At the end of the trip, they sang 3 songs for us. It was really difficult to leave them. On our way out, everyone came outside to say goodbye to us. It was hard driving away with them waving knowing what I know now. I hope I get to see them again and that I can help them out in the future.

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