It has been quite difficult to write while abroad being that there is so much I am constantly taking in, but if there is anything that has really stood out to me, it is the power and importance of faith.
During my time in Cambodia it was evident that the people had so little to live for. Each day they would rise knowing that each and every waking hour would be spent begging and hoping that they can have enough to survive another day. Children were unwillingly taken or sold from their families, forced into labor, raised to be mischievous.
I had some free time one evening during my stroll through the markets and I began talking to one of the workers. I’ve always been keen on asking questions. After a few attempts at trying to haggle, I was unsuccessful and it was evident that I was not going to make a purchase. I decided however to get to know the worker as they often spend time trying to get to know you - hoping that the personable demeanor will lead to a sale. I asked his name and where he was from and then I noticed that he looked like a friend of mine. I eventually was quite direct and asked him to tell me about his life as I was curious. His first response, which was immediate, was “You don’t want to know about my life.”
I begged to differ and continued to ask questions. In summary, the salesman quit school at the age of 15 upon his parents divorce as he was unable to afford an education and had the need to look after his sisters. He has been working 8 years and has jumped from different jobs trying to find something that would work. He has hopes and dreams but felt that they were more idealistic than feasible. At one point, he even said that he didn’t see a point in living. The only thing keeping him alive was his faith and his belief in Buddhism.
The children at the orphanage in Thailand have a strict routine that they willingly abide by. Every day begins with a prayer, every meal begins with a prayer and every night ends with a prayer. Today, I taught 3 classes English and then came back to the orphanage to help out with some farm maintenance. I picked about 200 mangoes for the children from trees. I showered and had dinner with them all after they came back from school. After everyone else showered many of the kids and staff members attended their weekly gathering at the house of the the orphanage’s founder with his family and I had the privilege of joining them.
This weekly gathering, I quickly realized was one of a religious purpose. At the founder’s house, the children and staff all gathered and began sharing their testimonies and giving their thanks. A different language, a different belief. They sang and prayed in unison. Witnessing and being in the room filled with all the passion and hope provided me with chills rushing and overtaking me. Everyone in the room ranged from different ages, some were as little as 5 to some in their 60s.
These children were here because they were given a chance. An opportunity to have a better life. Though they may not be with their parents or other siblings, they were grateful and continued to have hope for a promising future.
Whether it is keeping you alive for another day or providing you with hope, faith is a beautiful thing.