How’s the Christmas shopping coming along? Hope all is well and there is some good ‘decking of the halls’ going on over there. Here in Phnom Penh garland is going up, holy being hung, and lights strung. Each year seems to out do the last. And, these last few weeks have been packed with a lot of ups and downs.
We had Thanksgiving with all the trimmings including; two enormous turkeys, cranberry sause, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and the ever so important pizza, which is a Cambodian must for any Thanksgiving. I don’t know quite how to explain it. We also celebrated Om Touk, or the Water Festival when literally millions of people come in from the provinces to cheer on their local boat racing team by day, and enjoy fireworks and concerts by night. It’s an exciting time, unfortunately this year’s festival ended with a tragedy that you may have seen on the news. Over 350 people were killed when panic broke out on an over crowded suppension bridge. The swaying of the bridge caused people to fear it was going to fall and in the push to get off people were trampled. The days following the tragedy were hard, but it was amazing to see the country pull together to support the families of those lost. A local TV network announced the names and amounts for every donation that came in. It was incredible to hear amounts that ranged from fifty cents to twenty or thirty dollars considering again that the average income here is one dollar a day. Ultimately, $4,250,00 was raised and $12,000 given to the families of each victim. President Hun Sen, marked November 25th as a national day of remembrance.
This year Naome and I will be hanging lights and ornaments on our Christmas palm tree. And enjoying the dancing and singing of our kids in Chom Chao. Every year they put on a full Christmas festival with hundreds of people coming to see a perfect blend of traditional Cambodian dance, Christmas carols, and a Nativity performance. The kids are amazingly talented! We made two attempts at getting a US tourist visa for Naome, putting together all the documents we could to prove the she would just be going to the states for the Christmas holiday to visit family and friends and then we would return to Phnom Penh to continue school and work. However, the visa was denied. So, we will keep working to figure out the combination of items that will unlock the door and give her the chance to see family, friends and the states, as well as try an In-N-Out burger and touch snow for the first time. If you know someone, who knows someone please let us know.
Okay, do you want to see hundreds of happy feet, colorfully clad kids, and big happy smiles? Flip-flops and PJs are being delivered. We were up to our church/orphan homes in Pursat for the first round and the deliveries are continuing. Thank you so much for running this race with us and for the kids. You have helped over 2,000 kids find there way into a new pair of shoes or fun set of play shorts. Whether it was pink, blue, red, orange or purple, the kids were so excited to jump into their new colors. Thank you again.
On the road trip back from Pursat we got the call that our rice farm up in Balang, along the boarder with Thailand needed all hands on shovels, buckets and bags to bring in the this years rice harvest. So, I had a night at home and then it was back on the road for a week camped out with my mosquito net strung between a tractor and a combine. Up at six for a bucket shower, breakfast, and coffee with sweeten-condensed milk. Then it was bucketing, shoveling, raking and heaving rice in to 100kg. bags. The heaving was also heard in my lungs. We sent rice through the thrasher, sewed up sacks, and trolleyed bags into the barn. Out in the field it was a little more of the same, along with catching frogs, fish and snakes for lunch. Nothing like fish fried in a shovel or skewered snake grilled on straw embers. No kidding! It was great! BUT, I must say I’m glad it was not longer than a week. There are a few aches and pains still working their way out. However, I was told that by the end we had moved more than 200 tons of rice in one direction or another. This year we were blessed with a great harvest that will feed our kids for a good long time. A little point of fact, the 3,500 kids and caregivers within our church/orphan homes around the country go through over one ton of rice everyday.
So, we have been having fun and I want to thank you for being such and important part of it all. I know the economy is not treating everyone very well, but if you are looking for an chance to share with kids that have a willing heart to work for their education and dreams – please consider the life changing investment you can make in their future. Your support is incredibly appreciated and is, of course, tax deductible by contributing through our Warm Blankets office. Thank you again for your prayers, words of encouragement, and financial assistance for the kids.
You can donate on-line at this address: http://orphanprojects.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/page2.html
(you’ll see my picture and EVT Program in the second row.)
-or- by mailing a check to the office (please write EVT Program in the Memo section)
Kris Warner/EVT Program
c/o Warm Blankets Orphan Care
5105 Tollview Drive, Suite 155
Rolling Meadows, IL 60008