Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Well, it's a beautiful night in Battambang. A red crescent moon hangs high above, and the city smells like charcoal fires and roasted corn.

I spent all day with the orphans again. I used some money my dad gave me to purchase gifts for all of the kids. We bought badminton sets to share, some hackey-sack-type-things, and gender-specific toys for each individual child.

We also spent a considerable amount of time today de-lousing the kids. There's been a bit of an outbreak, so we wanted to nip it in the proverbial bud. We scrubbed each of the 40 kids' heads with special shampoo, and then we combed their hair and searched for nits. The boys were fine -- they have short hair, but the girls were a little iffy. We picked out what we could, and we showed the staff how to do the rest. In a few days, the lice will die from the shampoo and will be easier to get out.

It was very hot today, so, in a sense, I was very ready to leave the orphanage to return to our air-conditioned hotel. But as it came time to go, I became very sad. I'm leaving for Siem Reap, and I won't see the kids until June or July. I almost lost it as each child came up for hugs and good-byes.

I really love these kids. Anytime I don't have something in my hands, I have three or four on each side clamoring to hold onto me. Every time I sit down, I have as many as I can fit on my lap. I know that even when we open our orphanage in Phnom Penh, I will still have a special place in my heart for these kids. I want to know each of them personally, and to spend time one-on-one with them. Impossible, given my current situation. In heaven, however, we'll have all the time we need, and there won't be a language barrier. Or lice. Or dentists.

I also gave back my moto tonight, so I'm a little less mobile. Bummer. I may need to get a scooter when I get back to Columbus.

Tomorrow we go to Siem Reap to see the ancient temples of Angkor Wat. I've been there before. Absolutely amazing. I'm taking a busload of first timers. Cool. Then, tomorrow night, it's the fast boat back to Phnom Penh for a couple days before the rest of the team gets there.

Might do some shopping, will definitely spend time at the student center.

Well, I should go. We have a team meeting yet tonight and a very early morning.


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