Sunday, March 27, 2016

Cambodia ~ The Children's Home

One of the highlights of our time in Cambodia was spending time with the children and staff from our children's home. The XP children's home consists of children rescued from horrific sex trafficking/abuse situations. The children in this home suffer from disabilities and are outcasts in their society.  Our first day with the children, we took a tuk tuk ride to their home in the country and on the way I became very sick.  By the time we got there, I used the excuse of being on the floor playing toys with the smallest child, Hanna, because I did not want to get off the floor.  I whispered in Destiny's ear that I needed prayer for the pain/nausea I was feeling and she began to pray over me silently - it totally lifted.  I was able to continue the afternoon and enjoy the children.    

We painted the girls nails, took a tour of the property and looked at chickens with the oldest boy.  The House Mama had a son who was Destiny's age and they became fast friends.  The oldest girl wanted her nails changed colors and painted over and over.  Destiny was super patient and did her toes I don't know how many times. :-)  The little girl who's nails I painted, name was Esther.  Esther had been neglected, abused, repeatedly sold for sex and cast aside.  She was a child that no one wanted, a child with no voice.  Esther has Down Syndrome and she touched all our hearts.  Her smile was from ear to ear.  She would play with her barn and show me how all the stalls opened.  The smallest girl, Hanna, just started to walk as she had been so beaten and abused at three years of age she was unable to walk when she arrived at the home.  Now she is toddling about, very attached to her caretaker and does not want to be far from her and very strong - holds her own.  I would play ball with her and the boy who suffers from mild autism.  The day touched our hearts and we were moved by the rescue efforts that have taken place for these children to live in comforts.  We also loved our new friend, Brenda who is on staff with XP and hosted us so beautifully while we were in Cambodia.  Such a gift to us.  

One of Destiny's favorite days, we rented a van and took all the children form the children's home on a fun day outing.  We were going to take them to a water park for the day, but when we got there, there was no water in the park. :-(  Then our little girl with down Syndrome, Esther, got sick and threw up on the van driver and then pooped her pants.  Hmmm not so great of a start . . .  after her care taker cleaned things up, we stopped for lunch and that was a great success!  After lunch we went to another pool (more for wealthy people) and they told us they were "full".  They probably took one look at our disheveled crew and decided not. Also, children with disabilities are often not treated with honor or respect in this culture - so no favors are given.  So heartbreaking!  Finally we went to a hotel, that XP partners with and they let us rent the pool and we took the kids swimming.  I could not believe the utter JOY the kids had in swimming with Destiny.  They were laughing and jumping and having such a wonderful time!  Even the house Mama got into the water.   Unfortunately I can not show you pictures of the kid's faces due to privacy but they would jump in the water for me to take their photos and pose and we had so much fun watching them so absolutely delighted in the day.  Above is a picture of Johnny "testing" the waters.  Years ago, Johnny was rescued by our founder, Patricia King.  He had been trafficked as a little boy and had run away from his abusers.  He had been trafficked across the border into Thailand.  Patricia found him at the border hiding under a table, scared and traumatized at an unmarked border crossing with a number still pinned on his shirt.  In an auction setting, children may be numbered, lined up and sold by number.  Johnny had escaped before he was resold  The scars on his hands and knees indicated that he had been drugged and used for labor for many months.  Drugs allow the children to work faster and harder.  Johnny was no exception.  This day he was smiling, splashing and trying to test the waters to see if he would venture in with the other children.  

One little sad spot ~ I was holding the youngest and newest addition to the home, Hanna and she would see her caretaker swimming and start to cry for her.  I would watch as she would open her mouth wider than any toddler I know, and start to scream but  no sound would come out, her body would shake and no sound.  Eventually just little quiet sobs.  I did not understand - I knew she was having anxiety over not having her caretaker by her side at every moment but why  not a loud scream?  All at once I realized (and later confirmed with staff) she has been so beaten and abused when she would cry as a baby/toddler that she learned to stifle her cries - she just opens her mouth wide and her body shakes like she is crying with little or no noise.  Absolutely heartbreaking.  I held her and prayed over her and we had a few moments where she forgot her caretaker and would begin splashing and laughing in my lap in the steps of the pool and later she fell asleep in my arms.  Such tender, precious ones.  Such horrific situations they come from.  So thankful for Andrea (oversees XP Cambodia) and people who are in Cambodia making a difference.

The day ended with tired, super happy kids.  The house Mama thanked and thanked us, kissed and us and told us she loved us as she said goodbye for the last time.