We're home! 27 hours of travel and being awake for some 48 hours with little to no sleep almost defeated us but the kids were total champs. It was so nice to be back in our own beds although I did wake up several times last night trying to figure out where I was. I'm always disoriented for a few nights when I return from a long trip. I wake up and sit in bed for several minutes trying to figure out where in Cambodia I fell asleep before I realize I'm home in my own bed. Weird feeling to say the least.
Overall, our trip was amazing. We made many deep friendships with the children at PE2. The last night we were there was difficult for us to say goodbye. There were tears all around. Caleb and Faith were not ready to come home and both cried a lot at the airport and of course Caleb threw in some more vomiting on our way to keep us on our toes. They had an amazing experience and made some great friends. I hope that we can all retun at some point but we will definitely maintain the relationship via email and skype.
Several people gave us money specifically to treat the kids to some special activites. Due to your generosity we were able to do the following: Bring three nice acoustic guitars to leave with them, A special dinner and ice cream party at PE2, a Saturday trip to the zoo and lunch on the river, and a Sunday afternoon at the Central Market where we gave each child $5 to spend on themselves as well as dinner out that evening. They rarely get to go out for food or spend money to buy someting for themselves so that was a very special treat for them. The remaining money collected went into the PE2 college scholarship fund and will help a child go to college next year.
I was, once again, impressed with the people of Cambodia: So quick to smile back, they go out of their way to work through language barriers to prioritize relationships. They are hospitable, family oriented, hard working and dependable. For a people who went through a violent mass genocide 30 years ago, they are getting back on their feet and working through some very difficult circumstances. Discussions about the Khmer Rouge are tearful and heartbreaking even today. But Asia's Hope and other NGOs are doing amazing work there and are very welcome by the people.
I hope to return to Cambodia again in the not to distant future.