Recently someone attempted to lecture me about the harm that the “good intentions” of foreigners can cause and why the “big” organizations are best suited to handle many of the problems in Cambodia. And while I won’t try to argue with that, I do frequently wonder if what we are doing at Crossing Cambodia is the right way to do something.
Unfortunately it will be at least 8 or 9 years before any of our sponsored students graduate high school, we can only pray and adapt and learn as we go along until then. However, recently we prayerfully decided to open a preschool. We sought out a teacher and an assistant, started setting up a space for them, and then started picking up a few children just to get them used to coming in and to get some food into them.
We did this because of two small children in particular that I’ve known for a while now. Their grandmother has been raising them and they are always sick when I see them. They are malnourished, underfed, and undersized. The smallest boy was originally born as a twin, but his brother died before they were 1 year old. Whenever I’ve seen him he has had skin infections, worms, and patchy hair. We looked at him and even though is less than 2 ½ years old, we knew we couldn’t wait until August to start feeding him. So we started pick him and several other small kids up in the mornings and feeding them. We play Legos with them, watch cartoons, and play tag all around our center.
In one month, this tiny boy is not the same child. Not only have his skin problems completely cleared up and his hair begun to fill in, but before he was a sad and scared looking child who did nothing but sit and stare. Now he smiles and asks to be picked up. He explores with an unquenchable curiosity and he picks up toys and imagines them to be rockets or planes or something which flies.
Sometimes I question if we are doing things the right way, but kids like this little boy remind me that when we share God’s Compassion, we can at the very least be assured that we are doing the right thing.