Monday, January 30, 2012

7 Days In

     We just got home from taking the children to Angkor Wat for the last 4 days.  We rode for 9 hours each way in 4 vans to go 200 miles.  Yes, 200 miles, not 700.  I felt like we were playing a game of Frogger as we shared the road with pigs, water buffalo, cows, mopeds, bicycles, buses, Tuk Tuks, and pedestrians. Holy Moly were we ever glad we were not driving!  The kids made the best of it singing songs and putting their hands out the window and high fiving the people on mopeds.  The Cambodians laughed and thought the kids were pretty cute, but that does show how fast we were able to go the whole way.  It was fascinating to drive that far and not see any variations the whole way.  Most "houses" were on stilts and it was a one room home.  The streets were lined with people selling everything you could think of needed for day to day life, which here, is pretty much food items.
     We have seen, felt, and experienced so much in the last couple days I do not even know where to start.  The best part of the trip was getting to know all the orphans better.  I am continually amazed at how naturally happy they are.  It is absolutely amazing to me.  Our kids every 5 minutes need a drink, or want some candy, or are begging for ice-cream, or a souvenir etc. while these orphans never ask for anything and always say no if you offer them something-- all with a smile on their face.  I need a little bit of that to rub off on my kids :)
     It has been an eye opening experience learning about their stories from Botevy.  I already have about 6 that I am going to take home with me.  That is reasonable right?  I am thinking 12 kids is pretty much the same as 6 :) Matt is already laughing at me, but don't be surprised if one of them makes it home with us.  Most of the children here have parents still living, but they can not afford to feed them or send them to school.  There are so many wanting to come to Botevy's orphanage, but there is not an endless amount of room.  They just took 5 more children in a couple of months ago.  Sray Mi is one of them that has only been here a few months.  She is 12 and she is here because her father left their mother for another women.  He gives all the money he makes to his girlfriend.  So, Sray Mi's mother is left with 6 children to take care of and no way of supporting them.  Botevy was able to take in only one of the children.   Botevy told me that Sray Mi keeps asking her if she could go back and go back and get her 10 year old brother.  That broke my heart. 
Sarong is 10 and is here because her uncle is a member of our church and heard about Botevy's orphanage.  He like so many others pleaded with her to take her in because her family was "so poor."        
     Sarong is the one on the very right in the picture above.  She's the one I'm bringing home :) Love that girl.  Love all these kids!  Monte is on the left, I call her Monte Carlo--and Jenny is in the middle.  Look at all those smiles.  Edible.
     There really is a great deal of poverty here.  Yesterday we bought some boxes of Top Ramen.  Botevy said it would be good to hand out to the people in the provinces who are "so poor."  Botevy and her daughters Sunny and YaYa have hearts that never stop giving.  On our drive home today we pulled over on the side of the road and started to hand out one pack of Top Ramen to each child on the street. Botevy wanted to do this for her orphans as well.  She wanted them to remember how blessed they are to have food, a home, and clothes.  It was so sweet to watch these orphans hand out the TopRamen to these children.  They must have had mixed emotions as they were there because most of them had been in that position before in their life, and some of them as recent as December.
     Cambodians, children and adults, started coming out of the wood works.  I will never forget that experience.  They were so excited for one serving of Top Ramen.  The children standing there completely naked holding onto their noodles is a sight that makes you just stand still for a moment.

As a mother I took a minute to look at each of my own children's faces.  They were somber.  They were quiet.  I knew they had never seen anything quite like what was before their eyes.

 The look on Brandon's face says it all.   At that moment you want to take the shirts off your back and find any food you had in the car and give them anything you could.   This might sound a little strange, but for me there was almost a kind of reverence there on the side of that busy highway.  I worried about them, I still worry about them and I can't get them out of my mind.
    On Sunday we had another unforgettable experience.  We went to see the "water village."  It is on the border of Vietnam and Cambodia and there is a whole group of people that live literally on the river.  Words can not describe it, so I will post some pictures.
post more later, gotta go!  XOXO


  1. keep the posts coming!! We love you guys

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  3. Made me cry. I want to send Ramen noodles to you! Please let us know what we can do to contribute Allyson. Love you for your kind heart!

  4. Amazing experiences - love your pics!!

  5. Allyson, we've never met, but I run The Power of Moms with Saren (I think we emailed once, though!).

    Just wanted to let you know how inspired I am by your blog. My husband and I want nothing more than to spend our lives helping others, and while we're location-specific right now in Southern California, this energy and passion you have for strengthening the world is something we can immediately start to apply in our own circles of influence. Thank you for being so in tune with what God has for you. I am in awe.


    1. April, Thank you for your kind words. I wanted you to know that what you and Saren are doing is what inspired all of this in the first place. I went to a POM retreat in New Hampshire last year. For some reason, it was a real struggle to go. It was just hard timing, and finances were tough. I kept going back and forth. It is usually not hard for me to make decisions, so it was really bothering me. My husband finally said to me, Ally I think someone is trying to get you not to go to this retreat, so you'd better just go. I can honestly say that without the things I learned and felt at the POM retreat I would not be doing all these things with my family. It gave me courage, and most of all it helped me understand how important it is to deliberate in mothering. I am confident the adversary knew what would transpire in my family's life because of that retreat. We are fulfilling the dreams my husband and I have always had, and someday I would love to share the MIRACLES that have happened to allow us to do this. I firmly believe that the Lord grants us righteous desires and if you want to help His children he will prepare a way for you to do it. I am so indebted you and Saren for what you have done for our family! I send my love and gratitude!