Ups and Downs and the in Betweens

Everything goes by too fast.  The days have been drifting by too quickly.  There’s a lot that needs to be done and such little time.  A negative day might turn into a positive one in no time, and that is what happened yesterday.

We had XEMX’s ceremony yesterday evening planned.  None of us felt like it but we know that this was our responsibility so there was no chance we would cancel last minute.  Thankfully, it was the best choice made.  We enjoyed a beautiful dinner with XEMX’s coordinator Chammy, the teacher and the students.  It was an intimate dinner made of suggestions and hopes.  We heard of the students’ dreams and what they wished would be improved and Silvan remarked some aspects that need further commitment.  The dinner ended with the presentation of certificates and the launch of another year of training.

Now that the first part of this experience is almost over, some pending things are being finalised.  The medical project has been officially launched and today, though a bit intense we kicked off the screening process.  All SFODA children and staff underwent blood tests.  Doctors came to SFODA equipped with the necessary tools thus avoiding the hassle of the trip to the clinic.  I know that this is for their best but just the same I felt awful to make them go through the pain of the needle.  Even the toughest looking ones needed some reassurance.  We were going bananas holding hands and whispering words of encouragement.  The chorus was standard; ‘Are you a big boy? Are you strong?’, the ones I was next to wanted me to keep them from looking and talking them through the whole process.  Then you would see their effort in holding back the tears – primarily because they did not want to be picked up on.  When all was done most wrapped their arms around my waist, ‘Thank You Deni’ – here in Cambodia I lose the last two letters of my name.

Nothing keeps these children at bay not even a blood test.  They were soon off and about with energy enough to spare for all three of us.  They are tiring.  Each game played needs to be cheated on and we are the referees of their tricks –  their street wise minds have taught them to give their best in every situation.  They are competitive, fighters even in games.

Bear with me – it’s not easy being a judge here.