Friday, July 29, 2011

What Am I Doing In Cambodia???

Many people have been asking me what exactly I am doing here. I realize now I haven't really said. During the week, I spend my mornings at a place called the Freedom Center. The Freedom Center is a second step home from the Rapha House. The Rapha House is an international organization that helps girls who have been rescued out of trafficking. At Rapha House, girls have access to counselors, and they are kept in a safe and secure location. It is a sort of rehabilitation center. The Freedom Center here in Battambang is somewhere the girls can live and learn specific skills. They teach sewing and salon services. I have been spending my mornings with six girls who have been learning how to style hair. Most of them also have learned how to give manicures and pedicures. I have taught the girls how to properly clean their tools and space. I have also talked with the director and helped him choose and purchase some things which might help them. For example, they all had hair cutting sheers, but they were all covered in rust. The director didn't see any problem here until I showed him how ineffective they were, so he immediately went out and bought them all a new pair. They have mannequin heads they practice cuts and styles on, and they have improved immensely since getting their new sheers. It is a lot of fun working with the girls, but sometimes it is very challenging. They all have such traumatic pasts, and I can see pain in their eyes all the time. They are strong though, and we have a great time together. I have a translator with me there who works very hard. I wish I could share some of the photos I've taken at the Freedom Center, but I can't because of safety reasons. So then, every afternoon during the week is when I teach classes at the Youth Center. I'm teaching an English class and hip hop dance. Both are so much fun. I've had a lot of fun building friendships with my students. Most of them were very shy in the beginning, but they're slowly opening up. All of the other members on my team also teach classes in the Youth center, but in the mornings they go various places. These places include an orphanage, a nearby village, a local cafe, and Jeevit's House. Jeevit's House is a home for children who are HIV positive or come from families that are. They have a child sponsorship program as well, and they help provide rice to needy families. We all also take time out to go out and take photos. There is much beauty here, in both the land and the people. It has been an amazing time here so far, and although there are challenges and frustrations, it keeps getting better. Please keep us in your prayers. As always, thank you for taking the time to catch up with me and my adventures!

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