Villager Spotlight: Steve Tangsombatvisit Cambodia 2009

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Villager Spotlight: Steve Tangsombatvisit Cambodia 2009

Hi EastVillagers, wow, I have not been on here for a while now, but I thought I would share my missions trip to Cambodia from 2009 with you guys as well. (It’s already on my main blog, http://sbtang.blogspot.com, I’m gonna try to remember to post my entries on both places going forward)

Note: For info on my 2008 trip, click here. Some of this stuff might not make sense unless you read the 2008 journal first.

Well here it is. Cambodia 2009. It took me a week longer than I wanted, but nonetheless, here it is. Typing this year’s blog up was harder than typing up last year’s. There were a couple reasons for this. First we experienced a couple really intense, indescribable moments, and I literally spent a couple days trying to figure out the best ways to write about these experiences. Secondly, I now know how hard it is to write a sequel. Especially a sequel that is suppose to be better than the first version. Last years 2008 Cambodia blog was one of the best posts I ever wrote (and most viewed). Following that up was harder than I thought it would be. I’m hoping this year’s blog is better than last year’s.

Regardless, here it is. I’ve picked stories from the trip I thought worth sharing about. It is quite long, so you might want to print it out and read it during lunch or when you are in the restroom or something.

Story 1 – Killing Fields, Toul Sleng Museum – Revisited – June 27 – Day 1
Leading off, I am gonna address the question I am asked most these days (IE I am sick of) and that is How was this year’s trip different than last year’s trip? One of the reasons why I’m so glad I’m done with this blog is that I can now refer anyone who asks this me this question to this blog.

But it is a fair question. For sure, this year’s trip was approached differently than last year’s trip. Much differently. Last year, I went into the trip knowing pretty much nothing about Cambodia. I knew nothing about its history, I knew nothing about the problems facing the country, and I knew nothing about the humanitarian efforts going on in the country. I learned a lot during last year’s trip, but not as much as I would learn about it when I got back and did my individual reading and research.

This year I knew a lot more about the country going in and that changed how I viewed things quite a bit.

This difference of perspective hit me the first day in the country. Like we did last year, the first day was spent learning Cambodia’s history and culture. Like last year, we toured the Toul Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields. (I’m not going to go over the history of Cambodia like I did last year, refer to Day 1 of last year’s blog for that.) But while last year, I felt a sense of doom and hopelessness while touring these sites, this year… I actually felt a sense of hope.

To me, that was a little strange, to feel hope at places where thousands of people were tortured and killed, but that is what I felt. I think to see how far this country has come in so short of a time and to see how this country has picked itself up and how God has been using people in this country to heal it… It is really nothing short of a miracle. Remember, less than 30 years ago, an entire educated/working class of people was brutally wiped out. THREE MILLION people died. Numerous structures and buildings were destroyed. The countries infrastructure was completely destroyed. They are just now, literally this month, putting people on trial for those war crimes committed during the genocides.

And now, to see what is happening in this country. To see business and commerce. To see kids laughing and playing. To see and meet the people that God has raised up and put in place to heal this country. Really encouraging.

But don’t get me wrong. There is still a lot of pain, hurt, suffering and poverty in Cambodia. A lot. And still lots of help is needed. But if we were to just focus on the negative all the time (which is my tendency), we’ll go crazy. It is funny, I was really dreading the visits to these places because of how depressing it was last year. But in the end, I’m glad I got to see these places again, knowing what I know now.

Story 2 – Working With Orphans – Part 1 – Camera Project – June 29 – Day 3
Like we did last year, we did a bunch of things with the orphans of New Hope. Most of the orphan work took place at the Phnom Penh orphanage. One of the projects that we did was a photography project. We had a really nice donor who contributed to our team about 80 disposable cameras. Our job would be to take the cameras and train the older orphans to use them. We wanted these orphans to capture different parts of Cambodia from a native’s perspective. After they had taken all the pictures, they would give the disposable cameras back to us and we would develop the film for them. We’re hoping that from these 80 cameras we can get a few really good shots from it and then put together some kind of presentation from these photos. Here are some pictures of the project.


L. Students getting ready to be lectured by our photograph expert. And when I say photography expert, I mean Victor.
R. Getting the cameras ready to pass out.


L. Student browsing our sample photography guide.
R. Students checking out the cameras.


L. Students getting a demonstration on how to use the cameras.
R. Lets take some pictures!

We have not yet developed the film and probably will not see results for a little bit. We are not sure what to expect from this project. I mean, if all the orphans took were picture of cows and monkeys… Well that would not be too interesting. Hopefully some of these orphans would be creative and really take some pictures that would be representative of Cambodia. If this project does go anywhere, i’ll for sure put something about it here.

Story 3 – Working With Orphans – Part 2 – Kompong Chnnang and Kol Kong – June 30,31 – Day 4,5
Most of the work this year was in Phnom Penh, but we did make one road trip to visit a couple of village orphanages. Our first stop was Kompong Chnnang an orphanage about two hours from Phnom Penh. They had just opened up a school in the village and we took a quick tour of the facilities… We did not do much there. In fact, I’m not even sure why we went. Here are some pictures though.


L. Opening of the new school in Kompong Chnnang.
R. Students.


L. The church sanctuary.
R. A new friend I met who’s name I have forgotten.

After about an hour at Kompong Chnnang, we drove another hour and arrived at Kol Kong where we would stay the night. Being in Kol Kong was probably like how people lived in the 1800s. The orphanage also doubled as a farm and grew its own vegetables and raised their own livestock. They had chickens, pigs, ducks all of that in the orphanage. They still had to purchase rice and stuff, but the rest of the food they ate, they grew in the village. I can say that this was probably the greenest orphanage we visited.


L. Chickens.
R. Pigs.


L. Cow.
R. The land.

We did a children’s program for the kids and then hung out with the kids a little bit. The kids prayed for us, we went to sleep, woke up in the morning and then went back to Phnom Penh. Here are some pictures documenting some of the things we did. I really don’t have that much to say about this portion of the trip, I don’t even have much pictures from it… In fact, lets just move on shall we?

Story 4 – Hagar International – July 1 – Day 6
I will get back to orphans in a bit, but I want to talk about some of the other things we did on this trip, mainly our visits to a couple NGOs and to Svay Pak.

We visited Hagar International during the middle of the trip. If you have been keeping up with our team blog you probably already know a little bit about Hagar, but for those who don’t, here’s some background. (From their website)

Hagar International is a Swiss-based Christian organization that is committed to individualized and long-term assistance to its beneficiaries, advocating the strategic use of the social enterprise model as a tool for social rehabilitation and economic empowerment. Hagar works with women and children from devastating backgrounds of violence, abuse and trafficking and supports them in their recovery, rehabilitation, job readiness and ultimately community reintegration.

Hagar International originated in Cambodia where it has been running social programs and social enterprises since 1994. In Cambodia, approximately 80% of our beneficiaries have been successfully reintegrated into the community (Hagar Cambodia data, 2007).


It would be a day of meetings and tours. We started first at a Hagar operated women’s shelter at Phnom Penh. This is the shelter where women rescued from the sex industry would live while they are being reintegrated into society. Hagar teaches these women practical skills (like sewing, cooking and cleaning) that they can use to support themselves when they leave the shelter. Not only does Hagar teach them skills, but Hagar also provides paid jobs for them (in their organization) during the training. We visited a Hagar operated restaurant and shop that day as well.

What I typed up makes everything sound a lot easier than it really is. Let me break it down for you.

They say it takes five minutes to rescue a girl from a brothel, but it takes five years to reintegrate them back into society. Once these girls are rescued from the brothels, it is not as simple as just putting them back into normal life. A lot of them have no practical job skills and some can’t even read or write. And a lot of them are under some kind of drug addiction (like meth or heroine) that was used by the traffickers to control them. And there’s the obvious psychological issues with being in a brothel and being subjected to abuse day in and day out. For most of these women, just getting back into society itself is a huge uphill battle. And Hagar helps them do this by providing counseling, protection, shelter and training for them. Even with that though, the battle for normalcy still is a very hard battle.


L. Hagar Restaurant in Phnom Penh
R. Good food.

Story 5 – Svay Pak – July 2 – Day 7
Whenever people ask me what was the most ‘interesting’ thing we did in Cambodia, it had to be the visit to the village of Svay Pak. I hate using that word ‘interesting’ to describe this visit though, because I feel it trivializes it. I’ve been trying to figure out the right adjective to use and the one I think I am gonna use is intense or even difficult. Because the visit to Svay Pak was definitely the hardest part of the trip (emotionally and spiritually).

First a little background. Svay Pak is a town 11 kilometers from Phnom Penh. It’s also known as K11 because of it’s distance from Phnom Penh. The village is occupied predominantly by Vietnamese people (I could hear Vietnamese being spoken when we were there). The village is infamously known for it’s brothels and massage parlors who exploit young Vietnamese children. The Vietnamese children are usually ‘bought’ from their parents in Vietnam, and then trafficked over to Cambodia to be sex workers. Some of these children are extremely young, some as young as five. The village is controlled by the Vietnamese mafia. If you want more info, please see this Svay Pak wiki link. This town has been the subject of a couple movies and was in a Dateline segment.

When I was told that we were going to visit Svay Pak, I got a little nervous. It was not like this village was shutdown, it was still a very active hotbed for prostitution. And it was still controlled by the mafia. And then our guide told us we would go around dusk time (6PM or so, sunset), I got even a little more nervous. Seeing the town in complete daylight was one thing, but seeing it in the evening (when customers come) was another. But my thinking was that our guide knew what he was doing and that he wouldn’t bring a group of ten Americans to be gunned-downed in the middle of the street… would he?

Hence leads to an experience that is impossible to describe. Nothing I type out, no matter how great a job I do, will accurate describe the feelings and emotions of that visit. No way can you feel the hopelessness, the heartbreak, the pure evil that is in that village. No way I can describe the pain and feeling of doom that is in all the people of the village. No way. No way can I tell you what it is like to look into the eyes of a five year-old child and know that she has been trafficked and is probably a sex worker. No way. No way I can tell you how sick it feels to be solicited by a ten year old kid. No way.

As we entered the village, it looked very much like any other Cambodia village. But obviously, it was not. Our guide, Yeng, gave us the ground rules. No one was to wander off by themselves, and the guys especially, were to stay close to the girls, cause if the men were alone we would be solicited. As we got out of the van, I could see snipers looking down at us… okay, just kidding, no snipers, but I guarantee we were being watched as we set foot in the village, I could feel it. Yeng gave us a quick tour of the village. Here are some of the things we saw… Note, I don’t have much pictures from the village, I was taking a few until I realize that maybe it was not that good of an idea to take pictures. Here is everything I have.





To a complete stranger, nothing in these pictures look out of the ordinary. Looks can be deceiving though. Almost all these stores/cafes/restaurants in this town are fronts for brothels. As we walked, our guide would point out that this restaurant is really a brothel and that coffee place is really a brothel. Amazingly enough, this is actually a step forward for this village. Previously, the brothels didn’t even bother hiding behind fronts, they did their business out in the open. But then a ‘government crackdown’ forced a lot of brothels to ‘shutdown’ and be more discrete with their services.

As we continue to tour the village, I noticed a bunch of kids (around 5,6,7 years old) starting to follow us. I don’t remember the exact count, but maybe four or five children were following us as we walked. Our guide told us that some of these kids have been trafficked. (IE sold by their parents in Vietnam to be used as sex workers). From movies such as Call & Response and HollyI had a sick feeling that these children were sex workers and were probably following us to solicit us. We’re talking 5,6,7 year old kids here. One of the kids grabbed my hand and I quickly snatched it away. It was sick. I felt sick.

Here’s the incredible thing about this village. In the midst of all this evilness, all this sin, all this perversion…. There was a church. A freaking church. And not just any church, it was a former brothel converted into a church.



Rahab’s House, a church in the most unlikely of places. This building was raided by police back in 2004 and the brothel was shutdown. In its place, sprang a church. If you take a look at the picture on the right, some of the rooms in that picture use to be rooms where they locked child prostitutes in. Amazing.

Thoughts on Hagar and Svay Pak.

I’ve been thinking bout the meaning of resistance, of a hope beyond my own

I’ve been trying to think of a tidy way to conclude this section on Hagar and Svay Pak. This was one of the last sections I needed to finish before posting this blog and I’ve been stuck on it for a couple days now. I was looking for some closure of sorts, a way to nicely tie this section up. But the more I think about it, the more i’m beginning to think that finding closure may not be the thing that I need to find.

The above lyrics is from Switchfoot’s song Stars. A fun song, but I never thought much about it, especially this line, which I never even seemed to notice. But I heard it today in the car, and it stuck. In fact, it kind of blew me away. Cause in a way, these lyrics perfectly describes Rahabs, Hagars, New Hope and Chab Dai. What these organizations do, what they represent, it’s more than just doing good deeds or helping people in need, it’s a RESISTANCE. A resistance against evil and sin. A resistance against overwhelming odds. A resistance against common sense and knowledge, where the victories are few and far between. And the fuel for this resistance? Not man made. It can’t be. Anybody with common sense can analyze the situation and see how hopeless it is. For the time it takes for one girl to be saved from a brothel and reintegrated back into society, hundreds more are sold or kidnapped into the sex industry. And the government and police are so corrupt, that getting any type of justice is impossible. But yet, these organizations press on. That is why I absolutely love the line a hope beyond my own. Cause the one common characteristic of all the people we met, the ones working in Cambodia, is an overwhelming faith and passion in God. A hope that gives them, no matter how much evilness they see in Cambodia, the will and strength to continue to do God’s work. This was the one thing that stood out in all the people we met. This is what all the people we met have in Cambodia, but something I don’t know if I have in my own life.

And with that, i’ll close out this section

Story 6 – Working With Orphans – Part 3 – Computers Cambodian Style – July 4,5 – Day 8,9
On our second to last day in Cambodia, our team was asked to teach a computer class to the orphans. When they told us to do this, I really had no idea what to expect, especially with Cambodian technology. I was afraid of working on some 286 machine that was donated to them in the 80′s. Luckily, that was not the case. Last summer one company donated some systems to the orphanage so they had fairly recent hardware.

We ended up teaching a class of about eight orphans Microsoft Office. Honestly, I really have no idea what this class accomplished except for giving the orphans a chance to type and play around on the computers. We taught them basic stuff like styling, editing, how to drag pictures into documents, really easy stuff like that. The real challenge was trying to get them to type correctly. Because these orphans almost never use computers, they all were in the habit of typing with one finger on each hand and they typed like twelve words-per-minute. We tried to get them to type with two hands and that was no easy task. Here are some pictures from the class.


L. Me and John Mak lead the class.
R. This is the setup. They had about eight computers in their lab



This is one of my favorite pictures. Here is one of the younger orphans, i think her name is Pari/Phari/Polly. Right here, is the future of Cambodia. Her typing skills were pretty good compared to some of the older orphans (almost twice as fast , with good technique) and she picked up the stuff faster than the older ones. With the right resources and motivation she has a bright future.

In a way, this represents both the hope and challenges of Cambodia’s youth. There’s so much potential in these kids. All of them are diligent, respectful and have this hunger and thirst for knowledge. Highly teachable. In the class, there was no fooling around, no surfing the web, no playing games while the class was going on , just full focus and concentration. Right now though, filling that knowledge gap is just so hard. Things we take for granted, like fast internet, working keyboards, working mouses, consistent electricity, etc are hard to come by in Cambodia. Basic software that would help with their typing is hard to get. Computer books are non-existent. And people willing to invest time (and have knowledge) to teach these orphans is even more rare. So other than the couple times a year when foreigners come and teach them computers, these computers usually sit around gathering dust. And that is a damn shame, because they have orphans sitting around just waiting for a reason to use the computers.

Story 7 – IT in Cambodia – July 4,5 – Day 8,9
Here’s a story for the computer people/IT folks in the reading audience. I’ll basically give you a quick picture of what a Cambodian network looks like…. For you non-techie people, I tried to keep it as simple as possible, but I will be dropping terms you might not understand.

After teaching the computer class, they asked us if we could help them with some of their office computers. They said that a couple of their computers had viruses on it and they asked if we could help remove them. Though I hate IT, and haven’t done IT work since my days at AES, I said, ‘sure, why not?’.

Let me give you some quick specs on how New Hope had their network setup.

  • about five computers on their network, all running illegal versions of XP. Each also ran illegal versions of Office, Photoshop. Heck, they have more pirated software on their machines than i have on my machine.
  • all five computers are ethernetted to a switch and the switch hooks to a router for their internet
  • their internet connection speed is about 1/10 of DSL. And with five computers hooked to it, basically, everyone experiences dial-up speeds. If anyone needs to download a large file, everyone loses.
  • Wires all over the place
  • Their switch and router was made in China. AKA. Their switch and router is crap.
  • On occasion, when it gets really hot, they have to shutdown their router, or else it would overheat and stop working altogether.
  • And lastly, because their router and switch was in a different room, they needed a way to link them. So they took a gun, shot a hole in the wall, and then snaked a wire through the hole. I kid you not.



All of these computers had some sort of virus on it, most likely due to the fact that all these machines were unpatched (since you can’t run Windows Updates on illegal copies of Windows, damn Microsoft) making them incredibly vulnerable to any attack. Add that with bad business practices (ie going to strange websites, opening spammy emails) that our Cambodian friends were ignorant about, well you can see why these systems were a mess. An AVG scan revealed about a thousand viruses (no joke). I should have taken a picture of some of the viruses for this, but I forgot to.

Fixing these computers was beyond frustrating. We eventually declared half the computers unsaveable and ended up reformatting them.

After that, I decide to modernize their network a little bit by going wireless. So i went with the resident IT expert to the nearest ‘Best Buys’ and when I say ‘Best Buys’ I mean a hole in the wall computer shop to look for those wireless USB dongle things. Buying computer equipment in Cambodia… now that is an experience in itself…. We go into the shop and I start looking for Netgear, Linksys, Dlink, any of the brands that I’m familiar with… and I couldn’t find any. WTH? So I ask the translator to ask them for the wireless USB device. The salesperson brings out a device that was made in China. I ask them if they had anything not made in China. They said no. I looked at the box, and you know how wireless device speeds are measured by letters (like B speed, G speed??), well this was like a wireless A speed. I ask them if they have anything faster. And they said no. So I said sure, why not, we’ll take five of them. And for $16 each (I think a rip-off for that quality) we buy the devices. Amazingly, they actually offered a warranty, which I bought, because with Chinese products as with Chinese people, they are untrustworthy.

But the story does not end there! We order five of those babies and they tell us it’ll take about ten minutes for them to deliver it since they don’t have it in stock. Since they did not have it in stock (because carrying five of one type of item is just too hard) they had to call the warehouse to get it delivered. And then the warehouse tells us that they don’t have the devices in stock at the warehouse, so they had to call the factory to get them made for us… the entire Cambodia Supply Chain in action!!….. Okay, I made up that last part about the warehouse calling the factory to get the devices made… But still, it took over an hour for the warehouse to motorcycle those things over to us.

After we finally got the devices, installing them was surprisingly pretty simple. I was almost sure that the Chinese hardware would fail. I was mentally prepared for it… But nothing did. Amazingly, they all worked. Whether they are still working two weeks later, I don’t know, but I know that when I left the Phnom Penh orphanage that night, the office was wire-free.

Story 8 – Pursat Building Dedication – July 3 – Day 7
One part of the trip I was really looking forward to was the Pursat building dedication. If you read my 2008 Cambodia blog , you’ll know that this is the building that last year’s team worked on and our church funded. The building was completed about a couple months ago and they would officially open it this day. What was suppose to be a pretty small event turned out into a pretty big one. I think the organizers expected maybe 30 people, but in the end like maybe 100 came, including all the top politicians from the province, the chief of police and some other important people. I’ll narrate through pictures this portion.


L. A sign welcoming all the guests. It’s amazing that this place last year was just trees and dirt..
R. The stage where all the speaking would happen. The setup was pretty elaborate by Cambodia standards.


L. GRX Fremont. That is us.
R. Me and Michelle. The holdovers from last year’s team.


L. This is the building we laid the foundation for last year. This is what it has become. A building with rooms for the orphans to sleep in.
R. Here’s the kitchen area and behind that is the bathroom area, which is something we dug last year.


L. Another shot of the building we help build.
R. Upstairs, orphans sleep here.


L. The ceremony itself was pretty amazing as well. The orphans danced for us in both modern and traditional ways. This is a shot of a dance done with coconut shells.
R. A more modern dance, to Hillsong music.


L. This guy is the governor of the province. Not sure of his actual title, lets just say he is VIP. He actually grew up as an orphan himself and he shared words of encouragement to the other orphans…. He also put me to sleep, since he talked for almost forty-five minutes, all the while I was in the back trying to stay awake. We had gotten up at 3AM that day to drive to Pursat, so I had an excuse for being tired. Funny story, me and Erin had a translator translating his speech for us, and halfway through, our translator got tired and just gave up. So I gave up at that time as well.
R. The orphans that would be staying in the orphanage.


L. And finally. Cutting the ribbon cutting. Victor starts the job.
R. And the governor finishes it. Mission accomplished.

Story 9 – Last Night BBQ Celebration – July 5 – Day 9
And on the last day, we celebrated. After ten days of traveling the country, we came back to Phnom Penh to spend the last two days with our friends in the Phnom Penh orphanage. In honor of the fourth of July, we decided to do something American for them…. we decided to throw them a BBQ. Here are pictures from the night and my thoughts at the end of it.


L & R Before we start the party, let me show you what a Cambodian grill looks like. It’s literally an oil drum, cut in half, with a rack on each side (yes). This grill was actually ‘customized’ for us, and by that, I mean we went to the store and asked for a grill, they let us pick which oil-drum we wanted and they cut it in half for us…. All that for a grand total of 8 us dollars.


L. The girls preparing skewers in the kitchen. Cambodia is still pretty traditional in the sense that women know their role do most of the cooking and cleaning…..
R. … while at the same time in the other room, men like Chris played Solitaire on the computers.


L. This is the meat we barbeque… This is suppose to be beef and lamb, but it could be dog and squirrel for all I know. We picked these up at the super market… Probably not FDA approved.
R. Take a look at this picture in the top right. The girl in red is playing with the dog and preparing a skewer at the same time. I now know why I had stomach problems for a week when i got home.


L & R And it begins. All in all (orphans, staff ,us, some special friends) we had about 30-50 people at the party.


L. Grilling mystery meat.
R. Grilling skewers.

I am now going to introduce you to some of the orphans. I’ve held off most of this post putting orphan pictures up, saving them for this portion of the post…. I think my name accuracy rate is about 50%, so if my team reads this, please correct me.


L. The girl in the red name is Srey Nin (1 for 1). The interesting thing is that, because i didn’t know her name until the last day, I just called her Number 10 (she wore the same jersey the whole time we were there I think). I think she liked being called Number 10 so much, that by the end of the trip, she was calling herself Number 10 and other orphans were as well. And then during the bbq when everyone was singing and dancing, she would, at entirely random moments, scream “Number 10!!” at the top of her lungs. I was very proud of that.
R. This kid’s name is Savda. He ate like a machine during the BBQ. It’s easy to forget that most of these kids don’t get a lot to eat most days. He at like his weight worth of meat and skewers that night. And after he finished, he ate some more.


L. This is either Polly,Phari,Pari. There were three girls of around the same age with the names of Phari, Pari, Polly. They confused me so much.
R. Piseth. This was the guy that toured the country with us last year. He’s now studying IT in Phnom Penh.


L. I think this is either Monica or Maria (with Amy). This was another source of confusion for me, two girls named after top-female tennis players. I could never tell them apart.
R. Polly? (with Jo).


L. Orphan with Erin.
R. Here’s a nice story. If you read last year my Cambodia 2008 blog, I told you about the orphan from Pursat who I practiced English with. Well unfortunately, i was not able to see him this time around, he was out of town for something. I was a bit disappointed when i left Pursat. However, I met his brother! This is his brother, his name is Rambo. He remembered me from last year and he told me he had been moved to Phnom Penh for schooling.

Here’s what I found out the most interesting part of this story was. He initially did not remember me. But when I was in Pursat, his sister saw me walking around looking for her brother. (For some reason, that entire family remembers me). She communicated that to Rambo in Phnom Penh and that’s how he remembers me…. Evidence that Cambodia is showing some signs of flattening out. To be able to get a message from a village down to the city in about a day is pretty good.


L. Group picture! Outdoor version.
R. Group picture! Indoor version.

Words cannot really describe that night. It was quite amazing…. For the best way to describe it, I’m going to go way back in Christian music history and I’m sure no one has ever heard of this song (Wade, this one is for you)*, it was a real Rich Mullins Promenade moment. It was a night of pure, unfiltered, unadulterated happiness and joy. No worries, no fears. We ate. We laughed. We cried. We danced. We worshipped. And we did all this way into the night (until we literally ran out of power)… Afterwards, the kids wanted to pray for us. We kneeled down in a hot, humid room with 30 kids surrounding us, with their tiny hands upon our shoulders praying for us. Some of the kids started to cry as some of us started to cry. (not me)

I don’t want to over-exaggerate it, but I think I might have caught a ever-so-slightest-miniscule-sliver of heaven that night. It was that incredible. It was that special. Like I said, no words I have can accurate describe that night. And it was the perfect way to end the trip.

* Getting morbid for a little bit… Wade has said he wants this song to be played at his funeral. Wade, if you die before me, consider it done. For me, I’m going with Carolyn Arend’s Reaching(When we taste of the divine, it leaves us hungry every time) but Switchfoot’s Yesterdays is a close second. (Every lament is a love song)

* Since most of you all probably have not heard of this wonderful song, I’ve illegally uploaded it for you all. Rich Mullins – Promenade


In conclusion
That’s it. Again, thanks for all the people who supported me this trip and thanks for everyone who took the time to read this whole thing (I know it’s long). I will close out Cambodia 2009 with a video of Victor killing a chicken. We did not kill this chicken for fun, we were gonna eat it anyways, so the head chief let Victor due the honors. Enjoy.

About the author

Nancy Nguyen Welcome to East Villagers! I am the Executive Director of the Ping & Amy Chao Family Foundation. I am also the Co-Founder and President of East Villagers. From a young age, I have felt a strong a connection for the East Asia region and serving the poorest communities in those areas. My hope is that more nonprofits serving the Asian community and East Asia will connect and share resources to make a larger impact all around the world, relieving many of the pain and suffering. I hope that the life changing stories told on EV will empower and promote a spirit of service, volunteerism, and philanthropy among the younger generations. Please feel free to say "hi" and ask me any questions.

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