One of our Angkor4Kids 2016 high school students (Lauren Eastwood) wrote the following blog regarding an experience she had on the trip to Cambodia:
The little boy in the Adidas soccer uniform has stolen my heart. I had noticed him before, he had challenged me in a few nonchalant games of soccer, but I was so concentrated on my foot work with the ball I fell into my “bad habit” from previous years of soccer training: I forgot to look up. I missed the charming and adorable twelve year old boy starring and smiling t me. Except for today—as I executed a pull back but mistakenly ran into a chair, again without looking up, I saw him giggling and stealing the ball away. I first heard his unforgettable laugh, then came the smile and that was when he caught me hook, line, and sinker. After a friendly game of monkey in the middle, I was pulled into a dance circle he had disappeared into thin air. Sweat covering my body with only small electric fans but I didn’t mind. I stepped out onto the patio and his eyes met mine and said hello; he reached for my hand and grabbed my heart. He pulled me away to the volleyball court and smiled. Our inability to communicate is devastating, detrimental, but delicate. I want to know his favorite color, what he has learned in school, or simply how he’s doing…what is he thinking? Some of the most basic conversations but ours consists of “you play ball?”, “you/me”, “what’s my name?”, and smiles to fill the silence. So few words exchanged among us but so much love between us; Savoeun made me realize that words can be meaningless when actions say it all. Looking back on my time with him I want nothing more than more time: more time on the soccer field, more time playing hand games, more time simply being in his presence. Meeting someone with so little who is so content is mind blowing; today we base many’s success and happiness off of what they posses, but you should have seen the look on his face when I taught him how to play Tic-Tac-Toe. Savoeun inspires me to live humbly and live to help others. My mother and I are planning to return to New Hope Orphanage to see his smiling face again, but until then we are sponsoring him so that he can receive a better English education and have more opportunities when he enters his real world.