Friday, December 18, 2009

Kampong Chhnang

We finally made it to my favorite destination of the entire trip. The New Development Center... This the home for women who have been in prostitution and/or sex slavery in Cambodia. The Center has capacity to help 90 women for one year stints. It is a beautiful compound full of areas for relaxing, learning, living, praising God, and also a guard stand decked with an AKA 47.

The women there are so precious and fun!

First we went into the "city" because several people wanted to by sim cards for their phones. Unfortunately, if you don't have an iPhone its hard to connect across the world so those attempts were slightly unsuccessful.

Ronda met up with a few of the women to go shopping for our dinner meal in the market and we headed out to the river area. (This will be a separate post).

We got a tour of the center and met some of the instructors. We learned that they currently do not have an English teacher. This is one of their biggest needs... someone to go and stay for an extended period of time and teach ESL... any takers??

The program includes a sowing school and a cosmetology school. They make school uniforms, traditional dresses, shirts and do awesome hair and make up. Although we couldn't speak to each other because of the language barrier we were able to speak "beauty". Several of the girls got a hold of me and straightened my hair. It was such a treat. You may also notice in some of the photos that my eye brows are a bit darker than normal... I got a bit of heavy make up on the eye are completed as well :) It lasted for a few days...

A few things to note about the center: The women learn about Jesus and have help with healing through their trauma through God's power, but currently they do not have any counseling to help with overcoming the abuse. I'm amazed at their resiliency and willingness to learn a trade and desire to interact with strange Americans. They can sure put on a happy face. But, what I have learned is that in the Khmer culture people don't really talk about their problems. Ronda may be the only one who gets their story... they need safe spaces to experience grace and healing.

One of the things I am working on is getting them the Hands that Heal Training. Its an international curriculum for survivors of sex trafficking. I am hopeful for more depth of healing to occur for years to come. Please pray for those doors to open and those dots to connect.

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