Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Year and Gratitude

It's Khmer New Years so I thought it was a good time to sit down and tell a story about a young man who taught me how to look at the world through a different pair of glasses.

In February I sat with a 17 year old boy who told me how his hands were blown off when he picked up an unexploded cluster bomb.

He'd been told about landmines and UXOs. But he was 17! Remember when you were 17?

You were invincible.
You were immortal.
You would never grow old and wrinkled, bent and wheezy.

But this young man is grateful. He's grateful that he's found a home where he is cared for. He's grateful that he has the opportunity to go to school and get an education where most in his country don't. He's grateful to have others around who understand his physical limitations and push him beyond them.

He's actually a pretty happy kid.

There are a lot of kids in Cambodia who aren't happy, grateful or coping.

That's why my friend, Aki Ra, started clearing mines wherever he could find them. That's why he does it for free; and that's why he and his wife Hourt have adopted dozens of maimed, orphaned and destitute kids.

And its my very great honour to be allowed to help in my small way.

We can all make a difference. We just have to try.

Today is the beginning of the Cambodian New Year Celebration. So to all:
Sua Sdei Chnam Thmei

Happy Easter
Happy Passover


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