It is so hot here, but the passion we brought from Taiwan is no weaker than the burning sun in Cambodia!
We left the capital, Phnom Penh, and drove northwest. It changed from a flat asphalt road to a road of small rocks, eventually to a bumpy road covered by yellow dirt. The next thing we saw was a row of stilt houses built simply with twigs and tree leaves. These fragile wooden houses turn out to be the warmest home for children with disabilities and ethnic minorities!
After we arrived, we visited four different children and their families. The first one is a little boy whose right ear is curled and hearing impaired, but he has great faith. He is very much looking forward to the surgery Save the Children has arranged for him, and wants to return to school after that as soon as possible.
Then we visited a lovely girl who looks healthy and can move freely, but we saw a long scar on her lower leg bone after she rolled up her left trouser leg. We learned that she was hurt in a serious car accident when she was five, but recovered well with the help of Save the Children. The next one is a shy and nervous 12-year-old boy. Scoliosis makes it almost impossible for him to turn his head, but he overcame physical disability with a strong mind—every day he goes to school on the bike provided by Save the Children, and he’s third in the class, proving himself to be a boy of great ability.
The last boy we visited is the 13-year-old “Cambodian van Gogh”. His legs became paralysed due to an illness he got when he was little, but that doesn’t harm his passion for painting. Although he didn’t talk too much during our visit, I could see that he concentrated once he started painting; there must have been a lot of thoughts going on inside him!
It must be very difficult to live in an environment with so few resources; it must be very painful to live with physical disabilities. But their smiles seem to be saying “it’s okay. It’s just a process.” Pressing their palms together, they bowed deeply to show their gratefulness, expressing the message “I’ll remember the good things you’ve done for us. I’ll work hard to live well!” When we were leaving, I saw in their eyes that they wanted to say “Good luck! We’ll both become better!” I felt the love and dreams growing in their small bodies.