This weekend is one I hope I don’t forget for a a long time. It started on Friday when we were inundated with food and clothes donated. we spent the whole day organising it into food parcels. Everyone pitched in to help.
On Saturday we got up at 5:30am to get a tuktuk to ABC Driving school to meet the coach that was going to take us to Prey Veng. When we arrived there were piles of bags of clothes, food parcels and sacks of rice being loaded onto the buses. (These had been donated by listener to a local radio station who had organised this trip) We then went down to school to collect the 387 (to be precise!) food bags we had put together.
We were struggling to fit all the food and people in! 31 people came from the HOPE community. This was students, teachers (Khmer and expat) parents, friends and family. I was overwhelmed by how many people wanted to help.
As we drove to Prey Veng all along the roadside we could see evidenced of the massive flooding.
We arrived at the meting point which was at the side of the road about 2 half hours out of Phnom Penh where a rather small looking boat was tethered. We were told that both buses loads and their passengers were going to go on this boat!
As the boat was loaded with all the food and passengers from the other bus it went further into the water so, after some discussion we managed to hire another boat to take us.This did cost more but we felt we needed to be safe especially was we didn’t know what the water currents were like.
We travelled about an hour on this boat and all e could see for miles was water with the tops of trees poking through or small islands.
When we arrived at the island hundreds of people had come from the little islands to get the food. As we docked there was a burst of applause. My first reaction when I saw all those people was we don’t have enough for them and a little worried that we were going to get mobbed! However it was very well organised and even on this deserted island there was a PA system!!! The local official gave a speech about the are and how it was affected. I think there were 1,000 families affected and 300 who had been badly affected were selected for the aid. Each group was then invited to give a speech. Graeme McKenzie and Chak (the student who organised this) gave a speech and said we were a Christian school and we wanted to give this as a way of expressing Gods love to them. We were sorry it was so little and we knew it would not solve their problems but we wanted them to know we cared and hoped that soon they would get their life back to normal.
Then all the chiefs got a pile of bags and calmly everything was doled out to the people whose names were on the list. We also ran an impromptu clinic with a Doctor who had come with the radio station and our school nurse. When I stopped counting there were 292 people who had taken tickets to see the doctor. We only had time to see some of them. One boat load of people travelled 4 hours only to find there was no food left. They got some clothes but it was heartbreaking to see how patiently they accepted their lot. Many people needed antibiotics but we ran out or didn’t have the right ones.
One family we talked to had been living on their roof for the last month and had lost their rice fields and farm animals. they were so appreciative of the small food parcel and clothes that they got.
If you sent a donation here are some of the people you helped. This lady could not stop saying thank you.
|This lady was not one of the lucky ones she will have to wait.|
A very tired team arrived back at Phnom Penh sometime after 6:30. Sometimes when I do things like this I think was it worth it because we seemed to do so little to help. There were so many other people who needed help but we could not help but as I thought about it I remembered the verse in the bible which says For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink…‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,f you were doing it to me!’
God knows the heart and desire behind the gesture and says it is like we are doing it for him.