Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We are soooooo close to getting home. We're now sitting in the Seattle airport waiting for our next flight. The flight here didn't seem to long though because we just slept most of the way. I'm really sick of airplane air and food.

See you guys at home!
Hello from Taiwan.... again. Abby and I have claimed ourselves a spot on the airport floor to camp out for a 5 hour layover. Woo good times. Abby is pretty frustrated though that she can't find a decent snack to eat besides dumplings. So instead, we got a water and a coke.

I'm pretty sure we just saw the male Taiwan version of Brittany Spears. Long blond hair with nasty grown out roots and a black undertone. Man I love Taiwan.

The flight here wasn't too bad, we basically just slept the entire way. The only time we woke up was to eat some yummy airplane food. I'm just relieved we were able to check our bags. My bag felt like it weighed as much as my body weight and I prayed it wouldn't be overweight and God answered my prayer. It was barely under.

So cute story of the day. Because our apartment was on the fifth floor, Abby, Joanna, and I were afraid to take all of our bags down the stairs without breaking ourselves or something else. We grabbed a couple guys from outside and we paid them to take our bags down. One dollar each, no big deal. The little boy who's parents own the apartment building offered to help too. He can't be no more than 8 and he's a sweetheart. After we were all finished carrying the bags downstairs we gave a dollar to each of the men. I went up to the little boy and thanked him for helping and handed him his dollar. You would have thought he won the lottery. He had the biggest smile and got really shy. I would say that's a good note to end Cambodia on.

Well. Hopefully the time goes quickly so we can get settled on our next flight with some good movies.

Sorry it took so long, but this is the final shot of the wall

Twister time

Poor Phirum

Joanna playing with the girls

Monday, July 5, 2010

This is our last day in Cambodia and it feels weird to be saying I'm going home because this has been my home for almost a month now.

Yesterday we spent the day at the pool just relaxing and enjoying our last full day. It was absolutely wonderful.

Then that night we went to the center just to hang out with the girls and enjoy spending time with them. When James and Athena got here they brought the game Twister so we decided to try it out. It was absolutely hilarious. Girls were falling all over each other and laughing hysterically. Poor Phirum, his little body couldn't stretch across the mat very well because he is so small. He sure did give his best efforts though with a bunch of sarcastic complaining yells. My stomach hurt because I was laughing so hard. It really was a great way to end our time with the girls.

I feel so honored to be able to spend time with these amazing human beings. We are around the same age and I cannot even imagine all the things they have gone through. The strength they have is unbelievable. I am so thankful that God has given me this experience. Cambodia has definitely gotten into my blood and is apart of me now.

A big thank you goes out to James, Athena, Summer, and Joanna. They are the reason we were able to survive here. They have been so supportive through this entire trip.

Another thank you goes to all of you reading this. You are the reason we were able to get here emotionally and financially.

I will have to update my last group of pictures when I get to the airport because I forgot my camera at the apartment. I will continue to update in the airports until we get safely home.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hello from Cambodia. This is James Pond - posting to Kaytlyn's blog with an appeal for you to 'vote' and make an impact in the lives of girls, here in Phnom Penh. Transitions Global is about restoring dreams to girls that have been robbed and prevented from having a future. Kaytlyn and Abby have been here for the past weeks, working (and playing) with the girls and getting to know them - as girls, as teenagers, as freed slaves.

Right now, Chase Bank (yeah, the really big one) is offering millions of dollars to organizations for free! Ranging from $20,000 - 250,000 for first place! All you have to do, is vote...you follow the link on Facebook at within a couple of clicks, you will have given us the opportunity to win some money that will directly impact the lives of these girls. So, please, take 30 seconds and 'vote' for Transitions Global.

Go here or Athena's facebook
Happy 4th of July everyone! It definitely didn't feel like it here.

Joanna, Abby, and I had a 4th of July that consisted of going to a pool and hanging out for most of the day. This one pool that Joanna really wanted us to go to is under construction so we asked the man there if he knew of any other pools that we could go to. He mentioned a pool that was only $5 to get into so we grabbed a tuk and went there. Just from the road you would have never known it was a hotel/pool. At first we thought we were at the wrong place. As soon as we walked up to the gate though, a man opened it and revealed this small resort like property. The pool was toward the back and it had chairs to lay on and a little poolside resturant to grab a bite to eat. It was refreshing to see something so "normal."

We met this awesome family at the pool that was from London. This lady, her husband, her two sons, and her daughter are traveling the world for 3 months. Some of the places they are going to are, Cambodia (obviously), Australia, Fiji and California. How awesome is that? When I have a family someday, I want to do something like that.

After relaxing at the pool for 3 hours, not shocking, it started to rain, so we called it quits. Abby was super tired and we dropped her off at our apartment to take a nap while Joanna and I decided to get foot and shoulder massages.

Later on, we met up with James, Athena, and Summer for dinner at this Thai place called Setsara. It was super good. I had Pah Thai, which is now my favorite Thai dish.

Today seemed to go by really fast. I mean, you guys get to celebrate Fourth of July American style, and we get to celebrate it Cambodian style.

Tomorrow is going to be a really sad day. Our last day with the girls, our last day with Polo as our driver, and our last full day to spend with Joanna. I'm really going to miss this place. Although, I know there are great things in store for me after I leave here and I have no doubt that I will be back. It's amazing though how close we have become to these people in three short weeks.

A couple boys that jumped on the back of our tuk

A monk

This is the huge brothel that I wrote about in one of my recent post

Some of the girls tye dye shirts

The intense raining, it's kinda blurry, put you get the feeling for it

The girls in their shirts

Phirum made this for Abby and I, he's so sweet

This sign says it all

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wow it feels good out right now. It just rained which always cools things down thank goodness.

Starting with yesterday. We had breakfast with Dave, Ben, Summer, James, and Athena for a going away breakfast for Dave and Ben. They had a really short trip and left yesterday.

We spent most of the day rinsing, drying, washing, then drying again all of the tye dye t-shirts that the girls did. Yeah it was a really long process with our little tiny washer that sounds like it's going to explode when it spins.

We had torrential rains here yesterday and lots of flooding. Cambodia doesn't have a very good draining system. Abby and I decided not to go to the center because of the rain, we still needed to finish the tye dye shirts, and the center is quite a drive away from our apartment. So of course instead, we called our tuk driver Polo because we were really craving frappachinos. We also decided we were going to get a manicure and pedicure since it was raining and their was nothing else to do. It's a weird thought process I know. Polo pulls up and we run out to the tuk. It basically just looked like we took a shower. The water is spraying up on the side of our tuk because the water is so deep. After picking up Joanna we went to Gloria Jeans to get the frapachinos. I step out of the tuk and the water is over my ankles. While trying to lift my foot out of the water I lose my flip flop and it starts floating down the Cambodian street river. This police man/traffic director sprints after it and saves it for me. We really wanted this coffee. The manicures and pedicures were delightful also.

We decided to try this place called the Ally Cat for dinner. It has really good Mexican food. It was kind of sketchy though because it actually was down this alley. Oh well, what else can you expect here.

After eating still our stomachs were about to bust we all wanted to check out this night market that we kept hearing about. This place was lots of fun. It was open air with a stage in the center that guessing by all the people laughing, there was a comedian on the stage. Honestly to me it just sounded like a bunch of loud jibberish. Compared to Russian Market this place was heaven. There were a lot of clothing booths, jewelery booths, and houseware items. It was refreshing to just be able to get out and walk in the cool air.

This morning Abby and I headed to the center to do our last project with the girls and finish the wall. The wall looks great. Our final touches were the hand butterflies that the remaining girls did. I'm really sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it. I will post a picture by Monday though. This last project was about the girls expressing words that explained themselves. They had to trace their hands and in each finger write something they like about themselves. A lot of the girls had a hard time with this one. It's weird for them to soley be focused on themselves for once. After thinking about it though, many of the words were, loving, friendly, good friend, good student. It makes me happy to know that these girls are to a place where they can realize these things about themselves. After the project we just hung out spending time with all of them. There was lots of loud music and lots of dancing going on. Fun times.

This story I'm about to tell is probably one of the funniest stories since we have been here, and there have been a lot. So Joanna had been working at Java Cafe since early this morning. She had seen this cockroach flipped on its back struggling for a couple minutes and assumed it had died. We get to Java to meet her and she tells us this story of seeing the coachroach. Abby freaks out because where it was before was right next to her chair. It wasn't there anymore so Joanna and I just said "Oh I'm sure it's just under the chair or something". Reassured, Abby sat back down and continued writing in her journal. I walk up to pay for my smoothie and say to Joanna "I'll be ready once I pay." When I come back and sit down Joanna gets her computer case out of her bag and this huge bug scurries out. We both realize at the same time that it is "the cockroach" and scream, jumping up on the couchs. The timing of this is perfect too because it's around lunch and the cafe is packed. Joanna and I are still screaming, I'm jumping from couch to couch to get away from this beast, and everyone is staring at us. Great. One of tuk drivers must have seen us freaking out through the big window and ran inside to help us. He starts beating the cockroach with his hat and the entire cafe is still staring at us. Finally, the thing dies and is swept into the garbage. We thank him repeatly as he goes back outside laughing. Not one of our better moments. At least now we can laugh about it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Us staying at Joanna's hotel room is going 4 days steady now. It's nice to hang out with good friends after the chaos of a foreign city.

Yesterday night we tye dyed t-shirts with the girls as just a fun activity to do. It was pure madness when we first explained it. It was a long skinny room with two black sheets on the floor, all the girls, the staff, two translators, and us. Yeah, a little packed. At first the girls did not understand what exactly we were doing. This tye dye nonsense was pretty strange to them. But once we explained and got them settled down they really enjoyed it. The staff was fun to watch too, they were just as excited as the girls. The girls could choose from three designs, stripes, a swirl, or a bulls eye. Some of them chose to use all of the colors and others were particular about what colors they chose and where they put them. Since it was so hectic we decided to put each of the girls shirts in a bag with their name on it for us to take with us to wash.

Joanna had seen this sign for Italian next to Java, one of our favorite cafes. So for dinner we decided to check it out and see what it was. Best decision ever. We were seated in a cabana like table outside. We just lounged at the dinner table, how awesome is that. There was a fan blowing right on us and the outside lighting gave it a warm glow. Each of of got a different dish so we could have a bit of each others. The food was to die for. That place might be our going away dinner location.

This morning we got up and decided to go to a place called Gloria Jean's (obviously owned by an American with that name) that Athena had suggested. I was in heaven. They had all kinds of coffee. Well, not "real coffee", but chai tea, white chocolate mocha, and caramel frappachino. Ah, a little taste of home.

The majority of the time during the day today was the rinsing, drying, washing in the washer, and drying again of the tye dye shirts. I'm pretty sure my hands are raw from that dye. The shirts look adorable though, and I'm sure the girls are going to love them.

Joanna had a nice surprise today, she got a package from her boyfriend. Abby and I were just as excited as she was, just because she was so excited.

On the way back from picking Joanna's package from the post office we had Polo drive by this building called the Anarchy Building. This building is a 5 story tall, between a quarter of a mile to half a mile long brothel. This building is absolutely dirty and disgusting and crumbling apart. Some of our girls from the TLC center are from there. This building is so huge that even when there is a raid by the police they can only raid one section at a time. So, by the time they raid one section, the others are tipped off in the building and the girls are hidden. It's just a never ending process. It makes me sick to think of how dirty it is on the outside and then imagine how dirty it is on the inside. I honestly just prayed to God as we drove by, that he would have this building fall to the ground. Somehow keep the girls safe and let them escape, but just have the building fall to pieces.

Tonight we met all the girls, the staff, James and Athena, Dave and Ben, and Joanna at Khmer Surin for dinner. There was a total of 41 people there. Reservation for 41 anyone? I posted once about this place in my earlier blogs. It serves amazing traditional Khami food. The girls had a blast hanging out and having good food. I'm pretty sure the entire resturant knew we were there because we were so loud. Lots of laughing and squealing, some dancing, oh and lots of pictures. It was just pure fun to see the girls having such a good time.

The three of us just finished tye dyeing our t-shirts. With all the craziness last night we didn't get time to tye due our own t-shirts. So, we just set up shop in Joanna's hotel room. Now were all exhausted. I'll post pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The girls at the art gallery

One of the girls at the art gallery

Racing back to the center

I think this is awesome

Cute little boy, just hanging out on a moto

Joanna demolishing the biggest bag of popcorn ever

It's about 96 degrees here, and extremely humid, yeah doesn't make sense to me either

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Abby, Joanna, and I are super tired so we decided to chill out and watch Gilmore Girls for a little while. Classic.

I talked about the trial that Joanna was going to for one of the girls in my blog yesterday. Well, she didn't think she would be too intimidating in cargo pants and a t-shirt. She looked through her clothes and found a white blouse that would work. So we were on a skirt hunt. We grabbed a tuk and went to this street we saw that had some pretty nice looking stores. As soon as we walked into this one store we knew we were in trouble. In awe we climbed the shiny black stairs and all the lights came on as we reached the top. A never ending sight of rows and rows of clothes. This would have been a girls dream, besides the fact that every item was over $100. So that place was a flop. We were running out of time because she had to be at the TLC center by 1 and it was 11:30. We had a fashion crisis. We ran to the Russian Market and after 20 minutes of sweating we found a pair of dress pants. Joanna said those would just have to do. So no worries, she went to court looking very professional.

Just to update everyone about the trial. Joanna went and as expected was very frustrated by the court system. The judges answered their phones and slouched back in their chairs. The girl that went was so strong though, no tears, no cracking voice. She looked everyone right in the eye and told her story. I cannot imagine the kind of courage it would take to stand in the same room with someone that hurt me to that extreme and stand tall. I admire her more than she will ever know. They go back for a final ruling July 8th so it's not completely over. Continue to pray for the girl and her trial.

We took two of the girls that are in art school to a photo gallery yesterday. The fine art school was showcasing photographers from Phnom Penh. The pictures were so real and raw, showing pictures from around the city. The gallery was put together beautifully. There was a poster in Khami and English explaining the pictures and the artist who took them. It was a great mix of sad and happy stories. Many of them about restoration of the person. An example being, one child was forced to beg since they could walk, and because one person helped them out they are now in school and wanting to be a teacher. The two girls really enjoyed it and hopefully this opened their eyes to a new style of art.

Twice a week the girls go to yoga that is taught by one of the girls that has graduated from the TLC program. These girls are in a program called the Star House program. There, they live in an apartment, work, and integrate back into society alongside each other. They are all so sweet and all the girls from the TLC house look up to them as big sisters. We tag along with the girls to yoga and we are basically just entertainment for them to watch. Their little Cambodian bodies can move in ways that us American girls could never think of. They all make it look so easy. I have to say though, we have improved since the first session we went to.

After yoga we were all heading back to the TLC center because we were picking up Joanna after the trial and going to dinner. We raced the girls back in the tuk tuks. They had their own and we were in ours. It was a pretty intense race with lots of screaming, laughing, and strange looks from other moto drivers. Our driver Mr.Khar was determined to win and we beat them by a good 30 seconds.

We decided to venture out of our normal restaurant routine we have and ate at a place called the Noodle House. It was absolutely delicious. It was an Asian noodle place and we each got a different dish. I haven't been that full in a long time.

We just decided to have another girls night at Joanna's because it was so late. So we walked down to the movie store and bought one for $1.50. Incredible, I know. This restaurant/bar that is on the same street as Joanna's hotel gives you baskets of popcorn while you're waiting for your food and we were all craving popcorn. So on a whim Joanna asked them if we could just pay for a small bag of popcorn. Fifteen minutes later, the biggest bag of popcorn I have ever seen comes out in a plastic bag. They obviously don't mess around when it comes to popcorn. Don't worry, you will get to see a picture of it.

Today we're going to tye dye t-shirts with the girls. I'm sure this is going to be a fun time.

Monday, June 28, 2010

We now only have one week left of our trip starting today. It truly has gone by so fast.

Yesterday was a pretty busy day. We woke up and went to breakfast at Anise as usual. Abby and I decided to go in search of fabric because Joanna told us about this great place that will make any type of clothing you want if you just buy the fabric and show them a picture, for only around $8. That was an experience of its own, one lady tried to rip us off and obviously thought that Americans can't bargain or divide. Well I proved her wrong after ten minutes of arguing and me handing her the right amount of cash and walking away. Finally though, our fabric mission was successful.

Our project yesterday was a fun one. We had the girls rip up paper into tiny pieces and make a collage of those pieces into a face. It was supposed to be their own face, but with the neon colors you have to have a little bit of an imagination. For those of you that are having trouble visualizing this I'll have some pictures up later. At first the girls had trouble grasping this concept but once they did they took it and ran. Some girls did really little pieces, some ripped long strips to make hair. Phirum made a really big head with spiky pink hair and a little body. This really showed different personalities throughout the girls. Some were very particular what colors they used and each face was different.

Dinner with everyone last night was a blast. Good food, great conversation, and wonderful friends make a fulfilled night. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who have been called to the same cause.

Today I have a specific prayer request. One of our girls is testifying today against her perpetrator and I pray for bravery. The Cambodian court system is almost non existent. Judges do not have to go to school to be a judge, they can just pay their way through the system. Lawyers show up when they want, or not at all. It's such a broken system. Pray for structure today. Joanna is actually going to the court today to observe and support. Also, we have heard that a caucasion presence can be quite intimidating to the judge, so we are hoping for that too.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Our day yesterday wasn't a very exciting one until James, Athena, David, and Ben got here. It probably was a good thing though because we have been running around like crazy since we have gotten here.

Our funny highlights of the day though were...

Abby and I met Summer at church because Summer was reading a verse during the service. The service started at 10 and Abby and I were skidding in at 9:58. We didn't think it would be a big deal and we would be able to just slip into service unnoticed, because last week when we went there were more than a couple seats empty. We quietly walk up to the door and immediately stop because the entire church was packed. Ironically a group of 40 students from Australia are visiting and decided to come to the exact same church as we go to. A lady walked up and said I think there are some seats down and to the right around the corner. As we were walking down to the "empty seat" section they were doing worship, and Abby and I were standing out like sore thumbs walking down the main aisle. Confused, Abby and I didn't see this "empty seat section" we saw yet another section packed with Australian students. Now we were completely at a loss what to do and were awkwardly standing at the front of the church during worship. Thank goodness these two guys got up and gave us their seats. Such a gentlemen thing to do. Except when one tried to sit down on the extra drum set stool, he fell backwards off the stool, hit the cymbal and also another drum in the process. Abby and I couldn't contain ourselves and started busting out laughing. What a way to start off our morning.

While sitting at this cafe with Joanna for lunch we noticed a women sitting at a table across from us. She seemed to be in distress but we couldn't figure out why, nor did we want to because her wearing no bra was a major turn off. During the hour period we sat at lunch she snapped at the tuk driver watching his TV show on his phone, telling him it was too loud and to stop. She also yelled at the waitress because her food was taking too long. Then she gave us the evil eye when James walked up and we all squealed, giving him lots of hugs. That sent her over the edge, snapping for the waitress for the check. I think she was having a good day.

After our funny not eventful day we met up with James, Athena, Dave, Ben, Summer, and Joanna at this Indian restaurant called Shiva Shakti. Rightfully so Dave seemed a little delusional and laughed at everything we said. Not sleeping for 48 hours doesn't suit him well. The food was delicious though and everyone had a really good time. Although, Dave ordered 9 baskets of bread, so we had more than enough left over. It was really nice to have a hearty meal with lots of friends.

Congrats to Todd and Catie Bretz! Colten Isaiah was finally born! I don't think they even know that I know. Thank goodness for facebook. I already told Todd and Catie I'm adopting him as my nephew. I'm going to spoil him like no other. I can't wait to meet him. Todd and Catie, your going to be such great parents.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Abby's documentation getting sick in Cambodia

The Riverfront

The Riverfront... again

Picking flowers for our flower project with the girls.

One of the girls future project

Abby and Phirum

Phirum helping us out, his hands are all of the leaves on the flowers. He got his own flower too

She was squirming

After we painted it blue, but this is our before shot

Not completely finished, final aftershot tomorrow

It's a bit stormy here, so what's better than hanging out in a wonderful cafe with some good music and a blank page to send what your thinking to your friends back home?

An even bigger plus is the time we spent with the girls today overpowers any gloom.

The girls are taking the art projects in stride and did very well yesterday with our prompt. Our prompt was, what is one thing you want in your future? Examples: a computer, a family, a big house, to be a teacher. It was especially fun because we had the girls paint with there fingers, which was a very strange concept to them. It amazed me how detailed some of the girls got. One girl wrote, I wish to have a big house next to a mountain where I can plant lots of trees. Another said, I wish to have a big house with a big family, and I will learn to cook so I can provide for my family. It never ceases to amaze me how much love these girls have to give.

Today actually started off in a rushed flurry. Abby and I stayed up a little too late last night watching the Gossip Girl series we bought here and had trouble getting out of bed this morning. We overslept about an hour, so our schedule was all off. We hurried to Anise, ate a quick breakfast and headed to the TLC center.

We painted the counseling room wall blue yesterday and started the handprint flowers today. We were practically melting in that room but it was fun to see the girls squirm when we put the paint on their hands and their excitment after we pulled their hand away from the wall. All of the girls were not there today because they had school but we are about 95% of the way there. So I will put a before and after shot. When we are completely finished I will put another picture. It brings some new life to the room.

Now that we are halfway through this trip I have become more and more grateful for God putting Cambodia in my path. I don't know what he has in store for after this trip, or what this trip is going to spur, but I'm waiting with open arms because I'm sure it's going to be awesome.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Good news! My mom made it home safe and sound. I just talked to her over skype and she just sounded like she needed some good sleep. Which is understandable.

Yesterday was another busy day. It seems as if the days just fly by here. We ventured out of our typical Anise breakfast and tried this place called The Deli. It was a very good choice. Both Abby and I had omelet's, best omelet ever.

We ran some more errands, the bank, and then to get the paint for the counselors room project.

I had an interesting experience down at the riverfront. Abby and I went down there to just check it out and explore. It's absolutely beautiful, a long stone wall overlooking a wide river. Although this experience I'm about to explain put a gloom on the beauty of the riverfront. So, Abby and I were sitting outside at a table just drinking our waters that we had ordered because it was unbelievably hot. A couple young boys with huge baskets full of DVDs came over to our table trying to bribe us into buying their "good price" movies. Well, we didn't notice this, but this is what we are 99% sure what happened. All the boys were really close to the table and one of them put the basket halfway over the table. He must have slipped his hand under his basket and snatched my phone that was sitting on the table. Yeah, I got my phone that was lended to me by TLC stolen here. Perfect. No worries though, Summer let me use an extra phone they had at the center and I'm just going to pay them for the stolen phone. Good times in Cambodia.

The project we did with the girls yesterday was a fun one. We had Polo take us to flower street and we picked out 20 different kinds of flowers. After we got to TLC we explained to the girls that we were painting flowers. We had each girl pick a flower and paint the flower, then explain why they chose that flower, what attracted them to it. The girls never cease to amaze us and painted some of the most gorgeous flowers I have ever seen. One that stands out to me the most was one of the girls beautifully wrote why she chose her flower. She had picked a yellow rose and said something to the fact of "I chose this flower because it is yellow and yellow represents friendship. Before I came to TLC I was flat, but now I am at TLC I am like this flower, fresh, happy, and full of friendship." The most beautiful words I have ever heard. Amazing.

James, Athena, and David all get here on Sunday. I am so exctied for them to get here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Today is a new day and the sun is shining.

Yesterday, as you guys know my mom left to go back home. It was a sad morning, we all wanted her to stay longer. Personally, I am so glad she came on this trip to experience what triggered my heart for justice. After hearing about my experiences from the trips I have taken for two years, she now was able to live out what I explained. Her and my dad have sacrificed for me because of these trips and I am so proud of her for taking a leap of faith to act on her love for justice.

The girls absolutely love her. Her fun personality and caring heart attract the girls to her like a magnet. God definitely gave her the gift to love.

After my mom left, Abby and I went for some lunch at our favorite place Anise. Seriously, we are there a lot. All the staff know us and what our favorite drinks are. Leaving there we did a lot of errands. We went to the computer store, the grocery, and a couple places to shop.

Abby had her last IV yesterday and she is more than ecstatic to announce she is never going back there. We took a picture of her with Gloria and her doctor just to
document the traumatizing experience.

The project we did with the girls last night was successful. Our prompt was, using colored pencil and regular pencil draw your favorite activity. Examples: yoga, karaoke, school, dancing. Some of the girls understood what we meant and some of the girls went a different direction with the prompt. We came into it knowing we had to be flexible so it was really okay. For some of the girls that did it differently it actually turned out really well. Some drew where they would like to go, or symbols of themselves. One of the girls drew a tree and said that represented her, strong. So cool.

Today we are going to have more of a relaxing day. After yesterday running around like crazy both Abby and I are pretty tired. We're just going to go get paint for a project Summer asked us to do this weekend with the girls. We're going to paint the wall in the counseling room and have the girls put their hand prints on it creating a picture. We think were going to make their hands the flowers. Then tonight another project with the girls.

Pray for the girls to be able to understand clearly and able to concentrate on their projects. Have them understand that this is solely for themselves and do not let them get frustrated. They have done so well so far.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A loaded moto

Hanging out coloring

Yeah... it's rainy season

The Russian Market

Phirum and I at the pool

Phirum's name project

Name Project

The delicous Khami restaurant we ate at

Abby and I

At S21
Today is my mom's last day so I figured I would let her write.

I am not the writer that Kaytlyn is, so I will give this my best effort.

My flight is at 12:45 p.m. today, so we are sitting at Anise,our favorite breakfast hangout. Joanna met us here so I can say goodbye to her. The staff has gotten to know us quite well and even know what we drink every morning.

I am not ready to leave. The girls and Phirum have captured my heart and are forever tatooed there. We did yoga with them late yesterday afternoon. This is my last time to spend with them before I leave. It was so hard for me to say good bye, my heart was breaking and the tears would not stop. Please pray for them, for healing, safety and promising futures. I told them I would see them soon!

Cambodia has such a charm about it, I have loved every minute. Riding in the Tuk everyday I would just absorb the culture and watch the people. Every morning I would get up early early and go out to the patio and just watch life in Cambodia. You will see bicycles, Motos with up to 3 and 4 people including babies and small children on them. The Tuks, and then you will see cars, Lexus, Camry, Hondas all going down the street like busy little ants.

Thank you to all of you for your support and prayers. I feel very comfortable leaving Kaytlyn and Abby. They have acclimated well to the lifestyle here and feel very comfortable. Please pray for there safety and the work that they are doing with the girls.

See you at home. :o)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sorry I haven't updated in a couple days. The internet has been sketchy lately.

Starting with Saturday. Mom, Abby, and I met Summer and Joanna at this cafe called Java Cafe. We each had a delicous American breakfast. Afterwards, we dropped Abby back off at the apartment and Joanna, mom and I went to the Russian Market. The Russian Market is a hot cramped enclosed market that has everything you could ever imagine. I have never been so hot in my entire life, we were all dripping sweat within the first 5 minutes we were there. Some of the isles are so small only one person can fit at a time.

We met up with Summer and Phirum (the little boy I told you guys about, I now know how to spell his name) at this resturant that had a pool. This was Phirum's fun day out, so we all jumped in the pool with him fully clothed and played some games with him. I swear, I would take this little boy home in a heartbeat.

After the pool, we went back to the apartment, took showers, then met up with Joanna and Summer at the spa. Joanna, Summer and I got foot massages and pedicures, while mom and Abby got full body massages. Definitely a relaxing night.

Yesterday (Sunday) was the best day here by far. We went to church with Summer, got some lunch, then went to the TLC center.

We have officially started the Me Book project with the girls. Summer explained to them that these books are for helping them find out about who they are as people. They are all uniquely beautiful and copying each others work will not help them find out who they are.

The first project we started with was a simple name project. We had them put their name on a piece of paper using any creative tool they wanted. For example, cutting letters out of paper, stickers, different colored markers, shapes, what their name means. The pieces of paper will go on the outside of their Me Book binder which they will keep all of their projects in. We had all the girls and Phirum spread out away from each other to work so they could have their own space and not copy their neighbor.

A side note to that, Summer explained to us that the girls may have many different names. At first we were pretty confused about that because in America your name is part of your identity. In Cambodia, your name is not so symbolic of who you are. Some of the girls have nicknames that they themselves came up with or family members came up with. Some of the girls just completely created a new name just because they liked it. It's a very strange concept.

When we first let the girls loose to start the project many were frustrated and were not sure how to begin. The art culture of Cambodia is the art is all very similar to eat other. Almost a paint by numbers aspect. So the girls have a hard time having the capacity to be creative. We were all so proud of the girls though, even with being frustrated at first, they followed the rules and stayed in their spot to brainstorm what they wanted. Finally it seemed as if many little light bulbs were going off around the room. It got unusually quiet because they were all concentrating so hard. It's the most fufilling feeling to see them be able to think outside of the box and think about themselves for once.

After each one was finished they would get our attention and proudly show their piece of work. A very sucessful project indeed. We couldn't have been more proud of them. Even Phirum finished his project, it had his name, the TLC center, a bunny rabbit named Phirum, and a lot of Ben10 stickers all over it. (Ben10 is a favorite cartoon of his) The joy they had from finishing somethin soley by themselves was infectious.

Another special memory for me was, after we had finished the project, Phirum came running up to me with a dictionary, plopped in my lap, and kept pointing to different words. For about 20 minutes I would say the word and he would say it back and then I would explain what that word meant. He sung his ABC's for me, counted to ten and spelled each number, and then it was my turn to spell words. So precious.

I got to have my first moto ride last night! Summer has a moto and Joanna and I hopped on the back with her to ride to the resturant we were meeting my mom and Abby at. My mom and Abby had to go to the clinic to get Abby's IV. Three of us, crammed on this scooter, with a purse each, zipping around the chaotic streets of Cambodia. It was so fun. Three white women defintely got a lot of stares.

We ate at this Khami resturant where you had to sit on the floor. The food was delicious and I'm pretty sure my stomach was about to explode because I ate so much.

Wow, I wrote a lot. Today we're going to S21. It was a school turned into a prison/torture chamber during the genocide here. It's now turned into a museum. It should be interesting. I'll update about it later. Oh yeah, pictures coming soon.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mom and Joanna at Anise having some breakfast

One of the girls learned how to make napkin art

Cambodian fruit (It's actually pretty good)

Me riding in the tuk tuk
It's only 10:15 here and it's already steaming hot. We have created a morning ritual, eating at Anise for breakfast and getting on the computer because their internet here is super speedy.

Yesterday we printed off coloring pages off the computer, got them printed, and took them to the center for the girls to color. They were pictures of flowers and butterflys and were a huge success. Each girl was very particular about what colors they chose and a couple of them gave us their pages. I will put pictures of them up later. A highlight of mom's day was one of the girls gave her a gift. She came out with a box and a bow on top of it, and inside was a snowman that said Merry Christmas. This is now the best Christmas decoration that we could ever have.

A funny quirk that Cambodia has is every street sells one thing. For example, one street sells sheets, another sells motos (scooters), one sells greeting cards. So shopping is really easy here, all you have to do is say what you want and you get an entire street full.

Abby now has to get an IV everyday for the next 7 days because she could not swallow and is unable to take the pills she was given. When we go to the clinic, it takes about 30 min for the I.V. and then she is able to go back to the apt. Gloria, the person who runs the clinic is hilarious. She is from Australia and has a thick accent. She tells it like it is and does not hold back on her words. She is so full of knowledge medically and culturaly. Her stories kept laughing until our sides hurt.

We now have a pet at the apartment. It is a gecko, and we named him Tiny. He is so tiny you can miss him, he hangs out on our patio. I have tried to get a picture of him but he is so quick.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Yesterday was a very busy day. We woke up and ended up taking Abby to the medical clinic. She has not been feeling well at all since we got here. The doctor confirmed yesterday that she has tonsillitis and has to rest for up to 3 to 4 days along with taking four different medications 3 times a day. So during the day she has mostly been sleeping in the apartment. Hopefully she will be fully up and going again by next week. Some prayers for healing would be great.

After getting back from the clinic, we had Polo take us to get some groceries and other little things we needed. We also stopped at Anise to eat because we were starving and of all people sitting out on the patio, Joanna was there working. So we sat and had breakfast with her. We then went back to the apartment, climbed the five flights of stairs, sweating profusely by then. Then, back down the five flights of stairs and took off to the TLC center.

At the TLC center, we had a little birthday party for Alice, who is their administrative intern, but she is leaving on Saturday. She had bought cupcakes from Bloom, the place we had pictures of cakes from, and all the girls loved them. Peirome decided he was going to savor his and took 20 minutes just to lick the icing off the top, and ended up not even finishing it because it was so much sugar. We played a game with the girls that they taught us and there was a bunch of laughing and squealing going on. We hope to offically start our art projects starting Sunday after Summer talks with the staff and translators.

Afterwards we went with Joanna to get massages at a well respected spa that Summer recomended. Best massages ever! They are super cheap here and we each only paid 14 dollars. We are roughing it, I know.

Another wonderful perk of Cambodia is they have movies for dirt cheap. We bought the entire Gossip Girl series, seasons 1-3 for Abby to watch and another movie for only $22.00.

This country and its people has such a charm of its own. We have all completely fallen in love with it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Peace, Love, and Taiwan

Hello, view from our balcony

Our wonderful covered patio

The incredible cakes made by rehabilitated girls at Bloom

Me blogging to you guys

Cruising around Phnom Penh

The man in the helmet. That's our driver Polo.