Day on, day off

We certainly didn’t plan it this way, but it seems that we have one day in the field, the next becomes a day off.  Today we are laying low because Ben was leveled by the fever that had hit Heather a few days earlier.  One moment he was fine, enjoying a full day of taking picture and videos for Bracelets For Buildings (B4B) and exploring temples with his mama.  Then, all of a sudden and without warning he was burning up.  Our original plan was to explore Angkor Wat today.  That won’t be happening as Ben will need at least a full day to regain his strength.

What we will do today is the shopping for Tea and Mapp’s starter pack.  We will go to the “Big Market” and bargain for essentials like rice, sugar, floor mats, hammocks, etc.  These will be presented to the family and placed in the corner of their new house during Sunday’s blessing ceremony.  We will likely participate in three different ceremonies that day as two additional homes in the area will be finished.  

“Each blessing ceremony is remarkably different,” said Kent Lissack, co-founder of B4B.  He describe the two they did for houses #1 and #2 on the day we arrived in Siem Reap.  One was very serious, the other was quite celebratory.  The family dynamics can also be quite different, as relatives and neighbours gather together.

While Lee (the other co-founder of B4B) had me pick up an impact drill and put in a few screws and I assisted with a couple of odds and ends, our role here is more to bear witness to the process and spend time with the family.  I sat and painted for a few hours yesterday.  

I fashioned a makeshift easel out of four lengths of bamboo and some string. It worked remarkably well, as did painting in the middle of the temporary shelter.  I was protected from the sun and I had a pretty good spot to sit and paint.  

Inevitably the kids came over to watch what I was doing.  Several elders also glanced over and watched my progress.  I will spend time with the cow today and tomorrow and present it to them after the blessing ceremony.

 We are also story tellers.  Heather is doing beautiful social media posts. Ben is taking hundreds of photos and videos.  I am doing the same.  We know that hundreds of people back home are interested in what is happening in Cambodia as many of them have contributed in some way.  We are here giving this beautiful family a new home because of generous souls half a world away.  They deserve to be brought into the experience, through words, pictures and videos.  

As you can tell, there is a lot of beauty over here, despite the challenges of life in a third world country.  People are people, no matter where they live.  They have a tremendous capacity for a broad range of emotions, particularly joy.  


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