We're halfway through our trip. It is time to reflect a little on what we have seen and done so far. We hope you find these reflections interesting. The picture is a selfie from the van on the way back from Siem Reap - we're probably not as terrified as we look.
The most powerful impression we have is of the people. The Cambodian people are friendly and hospitable and they generally appear to be content despite the fact that they don't have the things we have. The children we have met at School on the Mat are smart: they pick up the stories we tell them, even in a foreign language; they play the games really well and with so much enthusiasm. The children's smiles simply light up their faces. There is a sense of growing wealth here amongst some, but there are many people who are poor. School on the Mat gives children an education when their parents have no money to pay for education in the government school: they are smart, only lacking the opportunity to develop their abilities and fulfil their dreams.
We are also very impressed by CHO. Here are Cambodians helping Cambodians! We are not here as the missionaries who know it all to teach them how to do it. We are here to work alongside a group of people who have a plan to transform their own communities: their strap-line is "helping to create strong independent hope-filled communities". There is a new project called UMOJA which means 'together' and is concerned with health-care, agriculture and church-planting, all at the same time. They have become a more organised, "professional" organisation in the last five years and their focus is clearly on the villages, to bring a new quality of life to these places and people.
We have another week's work to do. Already we have gained so much from being here, being able to see this work for ourselves. By the end of next week, we hope to have given more of ourselves and learned more about CHO, the gospel, and ourselves.
We are doing church tomorrow. Tell you about that tomorrow evening.