Aug. 2011

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Sua’sdey,

How is all at home? Is it back to school and back to the office? Well, I hope there is still some sand between your toes, or a few pine needles on the car floor. As for over here, all is good. No sandy sandals or pine fresh scent, but I’ve had my fill of guavas, and green papaya to go along with lots of grants, grunts, grins and gurgles. What does that mean? All right here you go.

As for the grants, that’s where it started. Well, there wasn’t the comedy or accent of Hugh Grant, or the melodies of Amy Grant, but I can say we are hopeful for some Ulysses Grants in the form of financial support for programs we’d like to run in 2012. Jenny and Pastor Ted, my partners in prose, and I worked on ten grant proposals covering projects from playgrounds, and large scale medical clinics to micro-enterprise businesses of cricket and mushroom farming. Our hope and our prayer of course is to bring holistic health to our kids, church/orphan homes, and the communities where they live. The playgrounds provide a fun social aspect for community kids, the clinics bring doctors and dentists, and the micro-enterprises provide income opportunities for the impoverished. A single cricket box, 4′ by 6′, can house and hatch enough of this popular snack (Yes, snack!) to raise $200 a month, which is plenty to provide for a small family in the province. And, less than 15% of Cambodians have ever seen a dentist especially in the countryside. So, a little cavity care is a huge blessing, although it may bring a grimace it’s usually quickly followed by a grin. So, again, we hope to see somes Grants for our grants.

On to the grunts, yes some huffing, puffing and deep gut grunting could also be heard over the last few weeks. Why is that? Well… we have been working with the Cambodian Ministry of Social Affairs, who oversees orphan care among other things, to receive our new MOU (Memorandum of Understand). This is more or less a document that shows we are meeting what the government expects of child care providers. Without it, we basically run in neutral, and are not permitted to bring in containers of support supplies. The challenge is that the government regulations are like trying to catch a butterfly; just when you think you’ve got them, they flutter off in an unexpected direction again. Sometimes they want to you to have a flag pole at each home, and other times that is unimportant. So, anyway the grunts came as our staff worked from home to home buying, building, or reconfiguring this, that or the other thing ahead of government inspections. The beautiful news is that so far all the sweat and strained backs have brought us passing scores. Wooo….. Hoooo…. ugh…. grin.

Gurgles? What’s that all about? Well, as most of you know now, Naome and I were blessed with a beautiful baby girl. She was born September 3rd, and weighed in at 3.2kg. About 8:30pm on the 2nd, Naome said her belly, which had been growing nicely over the last nine months, felt a little different. We timed the contraction, yes… 5 minutes apart. We checked the thoughts of Ome’s aunt, cousin, brother, and sister-in-law and all were in agreement that it was time to head for the hospital. Ome’s comment was; ‘Let’s finish this tv show first. It’s done a 9 o’clock.’ Yes, she was calm, cool, and collected. I WAS NOT! But, we nicely managed to gather our bags and get to the car. The Hyundai come through again! The six of us, seven with baby in the belly, piled into our little red machine. Mr. Bean would be proud! We did the ten minute bounce, bob, and weave to get to the hospital. Then it was check in, monitor mom and baby, move to our room, wait an hour, okay… pains are stronger and closer, back to the monitoring room, fifteen minutes more, now to delivery. Here’s were it gets interesting. The doctor was delivering three babies at once. No, not triplets! One room, three women, three separate babies, one doctor, four assistants. Unfortunately, no room for spouses or relatives. WHAT????!!!! Neither, my English or my Khmer did anything to convince them. Naome, of course composed, said ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got it.’ I on the other hand returned to pace the halls, like Ricky Richardo or an expecting father from the 50′s. I was just missing a pocket-full of cigars. Thirty minutes later I was holding Elina Pich Warner, and once again breathing. God answered all kinds of prayers. Eli and Naome are doing great. My eyes are still a little crossed, but I do know that we are all sporting big grins. All is good! (Side note: our hospital bill for delivery, medicines, and four nights was $207. One more big blessing.)

Enjoy Autumn, and I’ll keep you posted on everything between the burps and the naps.

 


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