Yesterday we had the most amazing of welcomes as we set foot out of Phnom Penh airport. Some of the kids together with their nanny came to greet us. Our tiredness faded away and replaced with joy and games as we kept them entertained during the drive to our quarters.
The joy they brought along with them was contagious. We sang, we tickled, we chatted and it felt like being home again to our very own ‘happy place’.
Our planned surprise got almost ruined as the little ones screamed ‘see you tomorrow’ at the top of their lungs while I shooed them in secret blaming the statement to be a language mistake. Birthdays are no big deal for Khmer people, but become a big deal when it’s their foreign friend’s birthday.
So with a bit of undercover aid, we tricked Silvan into having to attend a meeting with our partner NGOs. We arrive at this pizza restaurant, ‘our meeting place’ where he, still clueless opened the door… HAPPY BIRTHDAY they all screamed as they rushed for their hug. It took Silvan quite some time to realise that he had been fooled.
He may be the foundation’s President with a stern look when it comes to discussing improvements but there is no volunteer with a softer side than him. He has turned 36 but the child in him allows him to be always loved by all kids no matter where they come from.
Happy birthday sunshine…thanks for your infective passion.