We woke up bright and early this morning, ready for our first day in the city. Once everyone was up, we walked a few blocks to a Pho restaurant and had one the best breakfasts I've ever had. The five of us ate and had iced coffees for a total of $11! After breakfast we went back to the hotel because Carson, Teddy's son, was feeling sick. He sent the three of us out into the city to explore. First stop, the Central Market--bustling with people selling every kind of fresh meat, fruit and vegetable you can imagine; many of which I had never seen much less tasted. They also had areas packed with clothing and housewares, technology and jewelry. Pretty cool place.
For lunch, Teddy suggested a hand-pulled noodle place within walking distance. The food was incredible. They actually made the noodles to order.
At 4:00 Narun picked us up at the hotel in the van and drove us to see the kids at Prek Eng 2. I knew it was going to be fun but I had no clue. We had a blast. We pulled up to the gate and the kids poured out, opening the doors for us and hugging us before we had a chance for our feet to hit the ground. They've been looking forward to our visit for months. Everyone wanted a hug. They herded us into the front courtyard and asked us to take a seat. They planned a welcome party where they entertained us with various dance routines from traditional Khmer to pop and each one was full of smiling faces.
I got to meet Pay (sounds like pie) today. She stuck next to me like glue. She doesnt know that our family supports her. She just took a liking to me and stuck by my side much of the evening, holding my hand. Faith would love her.
They prepared a feast for us, fried chicken, fresh kimchee, rice, fried banana chips (amazing) and some soups with veggies and pork. The food was excellent and we all sat together and ate.
Shortly after dinner, the kids went for Jackie first. Before we know it they were chasing her around the courtyard and playing, then John, then me. The rest of the evening was full of laughter and fun as we learned new games and sweat like Americans who aren't used to the humidity. Those kids can really play! Their favorite game is like a more complex version of Duck Duck Goose. It's aparently a traditional Khamer game played by childen on new years day and the game goes on forever. No winners or losers. They never tired of it. I can't wait to bring the hillbilly golf set tomorrow. They are going to love it.
The sun set around 6:00 and we played til about 7:15 at which point they took our hands and lead us inside to join them for their evening prayers. We all sang a song together "I could sing of your love forever" and one of the older kids lead them in praying, 10 seconds later they all sat with their heads bowed, eyes closed, hands folded and praying out loud, all at the same time, lifting their requests to God. It was heart-warming to see 26 kids, all of whom knew life on the street, once discarded by their parents, thanking God for all of their blessings. It was moving to say the least. They kids smile from ear to ear and you can sense the deep gratitude they have for our church and for the ministry of Asia's Hope.
I'm looking forward to going back tomorrow afternoon to play into the evening with them.