Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Battambang, day one

It’s a beautiful day in Cambodia. The sun is shining, in a blue sky dappled with clouds. We’re about an hour outside of Battambang at a bustling truck stop off National Road 5. My family called a couple of hours ago, and I asked Chien if he remembered this bus ride. “The long, tedious one?” “Yeah. That one.”

Actually the trip is quite beautiful. We’ve passed green mountains studded with temple spires, rice paddies endless and emerald, scored with tiny footpaths traversed by glistening, brown children clad in checkered kromahs. If it wasn’t for the stabbing pain in my gut and the churning of my intestines, I’d be having a heck of a time.

Right now, I need about two hours of sleep and an hour of potty time. I doubt I’ll get the former, but the latter will come upon me whether I like it or not. I’m avoiding using the roadside rest squatty potties thanks to a large dose of Immodium – or Quickcrete as I call it.

Nothing, however, will keep me from tonight’s dance performance at the Battambang 1 orphan home. Due to political complexities I can’t currently talk about or even adequately explain, there are a number of kids there whom I haven’t seen for years; these are kids I’d promised to support, but was prevented from doing so for a long, long time. I love these kids, and I can’t wait to hug them and to tell them, “I’m sorry it took so long, but we never forgot about you…” I’m already emotional – I’m probably going to lose it big time tonight.

I’m back on the bus, and it’s nearly impossible to type. I’ll continue later.

Okay. We’ve arrived in Battambang which, despite its recent growth spurt is significantly sleepier than Phnom Penh. We’ve checked into the Te O Hotel, and we’re meeting for lunch in a few minutes. After that we’re heading off to one of our orphan homes for a festive welcome for my team and a joyful reunion for me personally. Some of the team members know a little of the backstory. The rest will just credit my infirmed condition when I begin to blubber and sob.

Who knows. Maybe I’ll hold it together. I’ll let you know when I get back.


Anonymous said...

Please give Chanthea a hug and tell her we have never stopped praying for her, and we never will.

Patty said...

Praying for you that your digestive track has held out, and that you all will be blessed by the reunion!
Patty B

Anonymous said...

Battambang was fast and furious for our team. I am anxious to see your pictures to "sort things out" there. Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to let us know how to pray for you and for making us feel like a part of trip.

John McCollum said...



Julie said...

You got to go back! (I'm a few days behind reading, so I know this is old news by now) But that's great!