fragmented and poorly written, but suffice to store the memory –
23 Sept 2014 – 11:11pm – Hotel @ Pnom Penh
Something pretty powerful happened to me today, by which I remain shaken. I hope they know how they have affected me.
As I hold the bracelets in my hand now, I feel like this will always be the piece of Cambodia that stays with me. I still feel some sort of chill down my spine recalling the memory. So tonight after dinner some people on our team spotted these girls outside the restaurant, the same kids that pestered / cursed / swore the day before upon being rejected to buy a bracelet from them. As we walked the rest went ahead, and I asked the girls, “how are you?” “10”, “8”, they replied. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “Lawyer,” she said. I told her, “do you know that your English is very good?”, it was the first thing I noticed. “how was your day?””what did you do today?” She said she had to sell, and that today was good, and yesterday was bad. I asked her, “are you happy today?” And I told her her English was really good, and if she reads. I told her she should read more. As we walked on she suddenly gave me, much to my surprise, a friendship bracelet that she was selling. “Here, this is for you, for free”. And I said no, it’s okay, admittedly at the back of my head I was suspicious of the possibility of tricks up their sleeves. She said, no, it’s for you, and ran off. Later on the younger girl (8 years old) came up behind me and I talked to her for a little bit, and she gave me an orange bracelet, and said it’s for me.
As we parted I said goodnight, and skipped back to join the crowd. I am truly moved, and it was truly powerful, that moment when she (almost shyly) insisted on giving me the bracelet. Thank you, thank you. I don’t know what it was exactly – which line it was – that made you decide to it, but you did touch my life. I told myself that the next time I bump into such girls again, I will ask them if they want icecream. You know, if they were not within the conditions that they were in, they would be so much more. I just truly hope that something I said awaken a spark within them. I know how important it is to have someone, anyone, believe in you to be better than who you were.
This moment is a grain of sand that’s part of something larger – a greater picture, broader canvas. I know for sure. This is one of the moments I will look back again and suspect it pushed the tides this way to mould the beach, the route ahead. Thank you! 🙂
(I do admit that in the context of Cambodia, part of me feels a little unsettled, half-expecting myself to bump into some group of rowdy boys who’d extort money from me, or got them to hunt me down at my door the next day. I hope this is all to be, and they understand and carry my words with them.)
‘I turned back and shouted ‘goodnight’, seeing the last of their shadows running into the corners of the street. ‘