August 14, 2012
My service trip to Cambodia has been amazing. It not only taught me about service, helping others in need and putting others before myself but also about the amazing history that has shaped this country. I loved how Youthlinc took time to educate and show us what the country and its people have been through. It is not until you understand a persons background that you can fully comprehend where they are coming from and what their needs are. I feel like we learned on so many different levels. While I was gone my husband was busy keeping up on his own work, the kids, running the household and several yard projects. I thought he did great, but when I made lunch for my children the first day I was home, we discovered Jason had not made it to the store to shop for groceries and therefore we were out of Thomas favorite colbyjack cheese. Thomas got really put out. What was he supposed to eat now? He could not have a sandwich without his cheese!!!! Besides there was nothing in the house to eat at all!!!! Nothing good. He was just NOT going to eat ANYthing!!!!! With my heart still in Cambodia I told him of an experience I had had the last day we were in Siem Reap. We had sat down at the restaurant to eat our breakfast. I noticed 2 boys coming in and looking under the tables and chairs. My first thought were that they had been in there to eat just before us and lost something. Silly me! It fast became clear to me that the missing object was food. They were street boys, or at least very poor boys looking for food. Starving! I quickly called the one boy over to me. He appeared to be about 8 or 9. With sign language I asked him if he was hungry and wanted food. He nodded eagerly and could not take his eyes off of my plate. I had just buttered and jamed 2 rather large pieces of bread. I had not yet touched my omelet or opened my water. I put the breads in a zip lock bag I had and did the same with my omelet. My girlfriend had now seen what was going on and helped me put another omelet in a napkin for the boys. I then gave them my water and asked one of the other students for their water as well. The expression on this little boys face when I handed him all that food was priceless. He could have run to the corner and snorfed it all down by himself, but he did not. He ran to his brother and we saw how they together sat down outside and shared. I of course was starving that morning, but hunger had never felt so good to me before. Because I was hungry, those 2 wonderful boys were full. I know you are supposed to "teach a man to fish" instead of just giving him a fish. For the past 2 weeks we had "taught men to fish". Sometimes a man just need a fish too. Those boys had nothing to eat. They had nothing in their kitchen. They were just not going to eat anything, but for different reasons than my son, Thomas. After telling this story nothing else was said in the kitchen for quite a while. My other children ate their food in silence, thankful they had food. Thomas just sat there and thought. After about 4-5 minutes he got up, got the provelone cheese out, put it on his sandwich and ate it in silence. Thank you Youthlinc for giving me this unforgettable experience. I have memories and lessons for a lifetime. Pernille Ream, Mentor.
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