The last couple months have been filled with amazing experiences and memories that I will hold tightly to for years to come. Just thinking about all the memories that I have created makes me realize the importance of being able to have good memories to cling to. Living in Cambodia I realize how many people’s lives are filled with haunting memories. Although the vast majority of the population here is young, there are still those who survived the Pol Pot Regime and remember how horrific it was. They remember getting only a cup full of rice porridge each day for sustenance. They remember working in the rice paddies, harvesting heaps of rice, but watching it all be shipped to China while their stomachs rumbled with hunger pangs. Then, there are those whose horrors are more recent…or are still ongoing. There are those who are forced, either by a parent or a pimp, to beg at the riverfront. There are those who are locked in a room and forced to “service” more than 10 “clients” per day. There are those who are kidnapped from their families, brutally raped, and then rejected in a place they know nothing of.
Those are all miserable memories. And truthfully, I know nothing of what it means to have memories such as these. I so badly wish that I could take away these memories from the beautiful Khmer people that I have fallen so desperately in love with. Unfortunately, I can’t do that. The only things I can do are continually pray for God’s healing and restoration in this nation and her people and create beautiful memories with those I have the honor of knowing personally.
Today I tried to help create some beautiful memories. I went with the girls and some of our staff to a water park. Now, this was not exactly what we would have labeled an impressive water park in the United States, but I think it might have been just about as much fun as I have ever had at a water park. I went racing down water slides with twelve-year-old girls. I caught six-year-olds at the bottom of slides. I pushed a four-year-old around on a raft, listening to her giggle uncontrollably. I went swimming wearing all of my clothes because that is the way the Khmer people do it. I sat in an inflatable tube with a thirty-year-old Khmer woman and screamed with her as we flew down a water slide.
(So, I "borrowed" this picture from another blog I found online, and the park must have been nicer when they went because the slide on the right was out of commission today...and the walkways look quite a bit cleaner. And, this was not the entire park in case you are wondering. There are a few more pools with other slides and sprinklers and things.)
It was a pretty fantastic day, and my prayer is that the girls will remember this day. I pray that it will be a day that they will remember fondly and that it would replace some of the nightmarish memories that have been lodged in their memory banks.