Postcards from a trip: Day 4
"Watching seven year old kids, aged before their time, gently feeding toddler siblings before themselves, brought tears to my eyes."
When? Day 4 Where? Piek Sneing Village and farm What? Cooking and serving at weekly school nutrition program Fabulous day! Emotional, tiring, exhilarating. Felt like intrepid travelers, bouncing in the back of the truck along the remote dusty roads, cloths covering our faces from the dust. Visited the farm to see how Reynaldo has transformed this dry place into a flourishing oasis of veggie patches and grafted trees. Lunch of rice and dried fish from bags picked up from a trusted 'take away' en route! On to the village, a cluster of ramshackle piles of thatch and bamboo, with an incongruous looking wooden shell painted bright blue taking pride of place in the middle – the village school. Helped hundreds of little kids wash and dry their hands. Tried valiantly to keep up with my fellow veggie chopper – an elderly Khmer lady – who used her machete to peel and chop three piles of veggies to my one! Melted in the heat of the windowless cookroom, stirring B’Or B’Or soup in a massive cauldron with a long stick over a smoking fire, whilst Cat and Greg led the kids in a robust rendition of “Heads and shoulders, knees and toes” in a mixture of Khmer and English! Handed out endless bowls of steaming soup to rows of patiently seated kids with expectant eyes. In some cases their only ‘proper’ meal of the week but not a sign of pushing or grabbing but waiting till everyone has a bowl. And then as one, a steady click, click of plastic spoons on bowls. Watching seven year old kids, aged before their time, gently feeding toddler siblings before themselves, brought tears to my eyes. Left over soup carefully carried home in plastic bags to elderly relatives…. Definitely a day to treasure and food for thought…!
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