Monday, April 30, 2012

why i love keeping it local...

 I just wanted to make a post about why I love what I do and why I love working with local people and seeking to empower them. 
Over the past month I have been doing some training with new staff, and it has been such a stretch for me. It is not that I am unfamiliar with the material I am teaching. I actually feel pretty confident about that...most of the time. But, there is something to be said for conducting training in a language that is not your mother tongue. I will be honest and say that I was quite nervous to do some of this training without the assistance of a translator, but it seemed silly to hire someone to translate something that I knew most all of the Khmer words for...or at least could explain a concept well enough for others to understand.
 So, I have spent much time with my English-Khmer dictionary, my markers, and my computer creating lessons about working within families and communities. And, it has been such a blessing for me to be able to empower Cambodians and showing them such honor to learn their language enough to support them in this way. I still do not claim any level of fluency, but I get by with a little help from my friends! 

And, last week, I had the joy of going to a provincial village where we conducted a training on child rights for potential foster families. It was so much fun to engage with these men and women and see their excitement about adding a child to their family in this way. These men and women are not extraordinary by any great standard, but they are choosing to humbly do what they can to make a difference in the lives of children. Awesome!

 And, riding in a Toyota Camry with 6 other people for a few hours and sweating my body weight under a hot tin roof were completely worth it. Why?

I will go ahead and say it. I love the countryside. I grew up on a farm, and I did not think that I loved it as a child. I have since changed my mind. I love the slower pace of life. I love green things. I love the smell of dirt (and marvel at how clean that smell seems). I love being able to run and climb trees. I love open fields and starry evenings. My childhood is filled with wonderful memories from a farm, and now, it is sometimes really difficult for me to live in the concrete jungle of Phnom Penh where security guards blow their whistles if you walk on the tiny patch of crab grass in the "park."
So, I love going to the countryside. And, I love seeing families in the countryside who work together and play together and eat together.

I love the clothesline filled with t-shirts drying in the sunshine while the chickens peck the ground.
 I love the ball that sits and waits for the sun to drop in the sky and the children to come play.
 And, I think to myself, "Why wouldn't we want to keep things local?" Who wouldn't want to grow up in this beauty?

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