SOME GREAT NEWS

Who doesn’t like hearing about success? The following story is from just one of the 250 OVCs and their caregivers who have been supported by Partners in Compassion-Cambodia (PC-Cam) through The Sustainable Community Based Project For Orphans & Vulnerable Children’s Program. Her success provides the incentive for our continuation with this and other PC-Cam programs.

Before PC-Cam’s support, this 38-year-old caregiver with three children lived in a small house made from timber, with a dilapidated roof and walls. When the monsoon time would come, she did not feel safe sleeping in her house. Her husband was a construction worker and the family was depended on his income, but it was not sufficient to feed the family. He was often not happy with her because she did not work and so she got a job in a garment factory… but after a year was forced to quit because her health was deteriorating. Returning home, she heard about the program offered by PC-Cam and applied for membership. She and her three children were accepted,

The project supported her in repairing her house and assisted the children in school. She started participating in some of its activities, such as a literacy class and a savings group. Later she joined a handicraft training and gained skills in weaving hammocks. Eventually, she was able to buy ducks and chickens and after some setbacks, they began to flourish. 

We are happy to report that because her outlook on Life was changed she is now able to stay at home and help support her family… and she is very grateful to The Sustainable Community Based Project For Orphans & Vulnerable Children’s Program for the support it has given her.

Thanks for stopping in!
The Partners Team

THE NEW BRANG CHHANG STORY

Lovable is not a word one would use to describe Chhang … and he was well aware of that. At one time, before the sores started, his looks were a little more tolerable but he never did gain weight in his lifetime, and having AIDS was something he could not hide from others.

Too weak to play, he sat or lay on the floor and watched the activities of the other children, but became irritable should anyone attempt to include him in on the fun. He was content to be invisible unless something didn’t go his way… then everyone knew about it. At times his demands went unnoticed however and he would eventually lie down on the floor and pretend the world did not exist. 

He did have his good moments, usually after a meal, when he would come over to my table. I was not always sure if it was to be with me, or so that he could clean my plate of the leftover scraps of meat or fish heads I had not consumed.

He wasn’t much for cuddling and he didn’t like being tickled… most times he would just curl up in my arms and fall asleep. He was one of my toughest critics, and although he seldom said a word, I could feel him watching me in my work and play with the other children. He seemed to be looking into my soul, questioning my motives, and evaluating my sincerity. For that reason, whenever he returned from a Doctor’s appointment and presented me with an ear of boiled sweet corn or another special treat that he himself had chosen to give to me, I was greatly humbled.

On the 16th of January 2005, he refused to get out of bed for breakfast and so we let him sleep in… but later that morning, when I went to check on him, he was very weak. I decided to start an IV but had difficulty finding a good vein. He offered little resistance as I poked around in his frail little arm with the needle. For Chhang that was unusual and, when after several attempts, I looked up, I realized his body was beginning to shut down.

There was fear on his face as I took hold of his hand. He looked straight into my eyes, following my every move. If I were to let go of his hand, he became restless, and so I continued to hold it while staring back into the ever-widening pupils of his big dark eyes. His breathing became shallow and his body relaxed, but his eyes never stopped watching me.

Several of the children came around, as did the other residents, they all knew what was happening… we have been through it so many times before.

With candle and incense lit, we sat there quietly waiting for what none of us wanted but all of us knew would come… and it did… but unlike any death, I had ever witnessed before, Chhang took a firm grip of my hand, and with his other arm, he reached up to wrap around my neck, like he had done so many times before when he wanted me to carry him. “Wayne!” he shouted, loud enough for all to hear.  

I literally saw his Spirit coming up and out of those big dark eyes and felt him, like a cool breeze on a midsummer’s night, passing through me. His lifeless arms then fell back to the bed while his eyes gently closed behind his departing Spirit.

I have always assumed that just before death when the eyes have fully dilated and the respirations have ceased…. There was no more recognition by the dying person of things going on around him… at least not of worldly things. Therefore to have Chhang reach out his arms for me and call my name, long after I assumed his Spirit had departed, was a bit startling. What could it mean?

I suppose there are many possible explanations for what happened that day… but I have now come to believe that Life is Eternal Energy and that what I saw and felt that day was, without any doubt in my mind, Chhang being released from the form that held him.

FISH AND COVID-19

A few months back the Wat decided to fill in their part of the pond we shared and in the process, the deteriorating fence that separated us for several years was weakened and part of the wall came down.

It will have to be repaired before the rains return but all of the options so far have been rather expensive. While we make our decision on the next move, we decided to drain the pond and harvest the fish.

Several Kilos of Pra were captured including some very large Catfish, which explains why there were very few small fish in the pond.

We sold what we could and the rest, our kitchen staff are preparing for the children’s meals.

On another note, a government clean-up crew arrived early this morning to begin cleaning the rooms of the Volunteer dorm, which hasn’t been in use for over a year. and most likely will not be used again until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.

The COVID-19 Taskforce arrived later this afternoon to inspect the rooms and offer their gratitude for offering our place as a possible quarantine center, should the need arise.

We all hope that our place will never be needed to house those requiring quarantine… but at the same time realize the necessity of being prepared, should the pandemic get out of hand. It’s scary to think that the virus is spreading and coming closer to us… but at the same time, using our facilities to help the nation prevent its spread, puts us back on the front lines.

Thanks for stopping in and a SPECIAL THANKS to all who have and are supporting our programs with your thoughts and gifts.