3.12.13 CAMBODIA- livelihood projects…this is the biggest way we keep people from being trafficked

BEGGING AT THE FERRY CROSSING

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SEWING HOPE IN THE WORLD

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HOW ABOUT A TRIM?

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TO MARKET, TO MARKET TO BUY A BUNCH OF SWEET PIGS!

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ON OUR WAY TO THE BASKET WEAVERS

 

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Hi Followers,

I am a day behind on our posts, but years ahead in what I have learned today. In one day we learned about the best way to keep people from being trafficked….give them a way and an opportunity to make a living.

Today we spent the whole day driving east towards the Viet Nam- Cambodian border to see the Livelihood projects that the United Methodist Church is involved in.  The projects we saw were all out in the country side….the places where poverty is so present…the places where no one wants to go because if they do they have to confront the injustice of it all.   Life is simple in the country, but this can not cover up that simple can stand side by side with poverty.   We visited 4 projects.  I will just give you a brief description of each since I will be posting pictures of each.

The one stop sewing shop-  rarely have I seen such beauty sold for so little.  The pride this young women had for the work she was allowed to do, because the United Methodists helped her build her business, was incredible to see.

Beauty shows itself again- if we had had more time we might  have been able to sit Dylan down for a quick trim at the in-home beauty parlor run by a wonderfully confident young woman.

To market to market to buy a fat pig- the pig farm/fish farm/cattle farm was like going to Old McDonal’s Farm!  So much life and even some new life…like 3 day old little piglets!

The basket weavers-  a handful of women split bamboo and wove it into simple, practical baskets. I think it must have taken about 2+ hours to make each one…and to think, they only received 33 cents for each basket.  Something just felt fundamentally wrong as I handed over $1.00 for 6 hours worth of work.

The Rice Banks- Rice banks save the lives of many people out in the country.  They allow people to move from starvation to fullness over the 2 months when their rice fields lay fallow.  When they are growing rice they pay it forward so they can take it out of “the bank” when they have nothing.  Boy, it would sure be great if the rest of the world could get on board with this kind of sharing and cooperation.  Like micro loans (loans given with justice in mind, not with the intention of deliberatly setting families into the downhill spiral of indentured servatiude for life)  Rice Banks keep families afloat and safe from people who prey on their vulnerability.

These livelihood projects made me feel so proud to call myself a United Methodist today.  And all I could hear in the back of my mind and forefront of my heart as set off to lead bible study (led by Kim) at a Methodist church  was the words of John Wesley, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

Our drive home was sobering as Marilyn Chan, our Methodist Missionary who led us through the day, shared her story of escaping twice from the refugee camps during the Viet Nam War.  Her story was one of agonizing pain, deep sorrow, strength and persistance, and unbelievable redemption.  And to think that she lived for a handful of years just 5 miles from my house in San Jose before returning to Cambodia to care for her people. Oh that I could have known her then.  And in the same breathe, oh that I have been given the gift of knowing her now.

What I discovered today is that life brings life. and love brings love, and  hope weaves it all together.

Until tomorrow when I shall share about the inspiring time shared with IJM (International Justice Mission), an organization that deals with human trafficking, and our afternoon at the Killing Fields.  There is still too much heaviness from time spent at the Killing Fields to share about it now.  Perhaps a night’s sleep will help me find the right words to share.

With gratitude for another day of living,

Carol Damonte and the other 7 Abolistionist, Kim, Phil, Janice, Andrew, Dylan, Judith and David.

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