L has dark skin and looks healthy. She’s 10 year old but can easily be mistaken for a 6 – 7 year old.
Since L entered the OBV Cambodia, she seemed sad, hardly talk or laugh. Lots of enticements required to get a yes or no out of L. Eventhough she refused to talk but other children at the home gathered around trying to engage L in their conversations or to play with her. All the older children, after returning home from school, always inquired and greeted L with a smile.
I headed out from Phnom Penh to Compung Thum after I read about L in the newspaper. I met up with the local police and L’s mother to inform them about the services OBV offers. L’s mother asked for time to think things over. Two days later, L’s mother contacted me and signed the agreement for L to come and stay at the OBV home. L is 10 year-old and currently in 3rd grade. She was raped and her brother interenved after he heard her cry. Her parents are divorced and both have been remarried with new family of their own.
Summer ended! The children competed and worked hard to earn good grades. All had stride with great effort in learning English, Khmer, martial arts, and obeying house's rules and schedules, even doing chores.
Now that the new school year began, the children's day will be filled with learning. There are 2 sessions each day – morning and afternoon with English and Khmer subjects. Nevertheless, they continue to stride and compete.
These days the children are competing for good grade and earning points for good conducts. For example, a child who earned 9.5 out of 10 on Khmer subject or 8 out of 10 in English class would have a negative mark removed from his/her record. At the same time, if a child noticed a dirty floor and voluntary picked up the broom to sweep the floor; or cleaned up his/her room or doing the dishes without being asked to do so also got a negative mark removed from his/her record. After the program was introduced, the children became more aware, well behaved and self-motivated.
The title of this article is taken from Fr. Martino's uttered words after learning about the stories of the two girls who recently arrived at the OBV home.
It has been a week since the two came to live at the home. There are noticeable changes in the two girls – both positive and joyous. However, there are things we've yet uncovered; things that hurt deeply.
Little C malnourished and frail when she arrived at OBV home.
If you've been following the stories on our OBV website, you'll remember the story of one of our little girl published in: A Fate Like Weed.
After many visits and dialogue exchanged with C's family, I persuaded her family to let C comes and stays at OBV home. C's family is not in a situation to provide proper care for her. C's dad is mentally ill. C's mom and her grandparents are busy making end meets. C was often found wondering the streets and highways barefeet from Can Tho to Soc Trang. The chance of C facing abused and kidnapped for sex trafficking was pretty high. Thus, I felt a great sense of relief after I brought C to live in OBV home.
October 1 St.Therese as a Feast Day of aunt T and 3 kids in the house.
Unlike previous times, this time mother N wanted to make a surprise so she scratched at herself -from buying flowers, gifts even cooking.
Ms.T: let me give aunt T a present.
Ms.H: Mom, have you brought any things yet? I have got the perfect gift to give to ...
In spite of summer, the children still learn English in the morning everyday. They are studying and exchanging views each other.
These are their activities as usual in the morning as well as in the afternoon of summer. Until October 10 the children come back to school and new school year will start.
Today, 5:30pm, I took the kids around and went to the KFC restaurant in the area near the night market of Phnom Penh to eat by Tuk Tuk.
Extracurricular activities for the children of OBV have been finished, but the images of them running, jumping, laughing, somehow are still in my heart. What impressed me most was the moments when in the end of the day, the children were sitting in a circle to think about themselves.
In the circle, the silence, the melody, the heartfelt spoken words... all of that made the children and me think. To help us forget all about the world outside uncle Sy told us to close our eyes, relax and reminded us to think about our families, about our beloved ones, about the time that we made the others sad and disappointed. And just like that, the melody, the silence, the sentiments, the questions were repeated over and over again in our heads, and stuck in our mind.