This morning we spent some time reorganizing our stuff, running errands and hangin' out. Last week we all went to a local tailor who took our measurements and made shirts to our specifications and fabric choices so we went to pick them up. Pretty cool to have clothes that were made to fit you perfectly. Each shirt was only $13! We also hit the Russian Market after breakfast to pick up a few things.
At 3:00 we met Narun and the kids from Prek Eng 2 outside the Central Market. 27 kids and 4 adults climbed out of a mini van no bigger than my Honda Odyssey. This was a special outing for them. After Narun parked the van, we handed each child a $5 bill and each adult $10 and gave them just over an hour to shop the market. The kids gravitated toward an adult, so we broke up into smaller buddy groups to go out and spend their money. Interestingly enough both Pay and Sothul were in my group (we sponser them). They spent the first 15 minutes wandering around and finally I stopped our group and asked what they wanted to spend their money on. At first no one answered. I'm not sure they knew what to do. So I started throwing out ideas...watchtches, bags, clothing, toys...then Maeta spoke up, "watch, I want a watch." So we headed into the main building and the kids all checked out the watches. Three of the boys in my group ended up buying watches. Then Pay spoke up, "can we look at shoes?" sure, let's go. Off to the shoes. There we ran into about six other PE 2 girls trying on shoes. Girls and their shoes... Pay and Dane both bought matching pink jelly shoes with heals (not high heels) and they loved them. They both wore their new shoes for the rest of the evening, carrying their tennis shoes in the shopping bag. They felt so special. At 4:30 we all gathered back together and watched as the kids showed each other their new gifts. They pretty much all fell into the "accessories" category: watches, shoes, and bags. They were all so grateful and thankful.
Next we walked across the street to the Soya Mall and treated all of them to hamburgers, fried chicken, french fries, Coke, and an ice cream cone. The kids grabbed my hand when we walked in and sat me down at a table of six. Maeta, Pay, Sothul, Sothoun, Dane, ate with me and we had a great time talking. Sothul helped with some of the translating but most of the simpler conversation was pretty easy to communicate and the giggles and smiles say far more than words.
I have had an amazing time so far on this trip but I had no idea I would enjoy my time with the kids this much. Their joy is infectious. They love to just hold your hand and lean against you and talk. They are so grateful for us and our church. They pray for us daily. They are begging me to come back next year and bring the kids and Becky. I told them it was a possibility and I asked them to pray for a good year so we could afford the heavy cost involved with flying all of us to Cambodia. Caleb and Faith would have the times of their lives. We'll see...
Up next: The Killing Fields, then playing at Prek Eng 2 for the rest of the day (can't wait).