Chum Riep Sua
Hope your year has started off well and that your resolutions are holding strong. Wait a minute…. What was my resolution again? Oh yes, that’s right… exercise, the same as last year. Can you indirectly claim that you’ve been keeping a resolution? What I mean is that I haven’t been breaking out the barbells, or counting off push-ups, but this year did start off with a sprint and has kept a pretty steady running pace.
We had a handful of government officials from the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Child Welfare and a few others out to our FCOP Training Center for the official M.O.U. (Memorandum of Understanding) inspection. So, a little extra elbow grease was put into preparation for their arrival. Time for the track shoes and sweat bands as we dusted, painted, polished, mopped, mowed, clipped, cut and shuffled everything into shape. The officials arrived with reporters and camera crews, and went on to visit every facility from our medical clinic, computer room, and sewing room to the kitchen, kids’ rooms, library, school, fish pond and tractor factory. It was the grand tour, at the end of which they shared gifts with the kids, and formally presented Foursquare Children of Promise with our M.O.U. This document allows us to continuing doing what we’re doing to bring holistic health to orphans, widows, and those in need. The two outstanding parts of the day were that it was an ‘all-Cambodian day’, Cambodians serving Cambodians, no foreigners to be seen, which is really what FCOP is all about. And second, FCOP received commendation for the work that it is doing. The government officials stated that FCOP is the model to follow for all organizations in the country caring for children. We made both the front page of the national newspaper and the TV news.
Keeping the laces tight, I had the fun of getting back into my classes. We have started a new series of books, which the kids are excited about especially because there is a prize at the end. I will present them with Certificates of Completion. Here in Cambodia these certificates are gold. They provide the students with a sense of accomplishment, and encourage them to work toward the next one. In a country where personal possessions are few and far between holding a certificate that you have successfully worked for is meaningful. Furthermore, youth who can’t afford university will strive to collect certificates for English and various software programs in place of a diploma. And, company interviewers look for certificates as one means of employee selection. So, we are having fun.
Part two of school is that I have enjoyed doing teacher training for Lida and Siem Reap. Lida, is now successfully pulling quadruple duty. She is studying English literature at a local university, turning out beautiful items in the sewing room, leading children’s ministry, and now eagerly taking on the teaching of English to our youngest batch of kids. Siem Reap also has a plate full with teaching English, prepping for university entrance exams, and carrying many administrative duties in and around the church. I am lucky to have them and they are doing amazingly.
Finally, January was a blessed month in the sewing room. Our international teams who have been here to do repairs on our church homes in the provinces have out done themselves. Along with building this and painting that, they have brought smiles and encouragement to the kids, and they have also pretty much left our shelves bare in the sewing room. I have to believe that more than a few went way over their luggage wait limit. So, if their new year’s resolution was to exercise I’d like them proudly state that they’ve been doing it.
Well, I have kept you long enough. I need to unfold myself from this yoga pose I’ve been sitting in, and tighten the shoe laces once again it time for class. Thank you.
If you have any questions about Cambodia, what we (FCOP) are doing, or just want to exercise your fingers, please write. I’d love to hear from you.