WORLD RACE: 2/2/11

Hope has a Face.

I can’t tell you her name.  So, I will choose a name for her.  In Cambodia, like so many other cultures, names are significant and mean something. Most of the women have names that represent a flower of some kind.  I’m choosing a name that has captured my heart since deciding to go on this trip.  It’s the word I was praying would quickly find a face to attach itself to so that when I closed my eyes at night I knew what she looked like.

I will call this woman HOPE.

I can’t show you her picture.  So, I will describe her beauty to you.  She has a tiny frame and wide almond shaped eyes. She has tan skin slightly darkened by the sun.  Her nose is wide and slightly flatter than mine.  Her hair is raven-like.  Her hands are delicate and move with the grace of quiet evening waves when she sews and when she draws.  She often brushes her bangs out of her eyes when leaning over the sewing machine or over her sketchbook every morning while we are working together.  Hope is a beautiful girl.  She is lovely and she has no idea.  Her giggle is quiet when she knows I am listening but much louder when she is only around her friends.  She thinks my laugh is funny, mostly because my giggle is quite woodpecker-ish and slightly hyena-like at times.  She can say my name now and has learned to say “I’m fine” when I ask how she is doing.  When we talk we always look right at each other even though there is a translator there to explain the details of what is being said.  I love that we do this.

I can’t tell you her story.  So, I will tell you what she’s like.  Hope is a designer.  She says that she wants to become a designer “one day,” but I am hoping that she will soon realize that she already is.  She is creative, smart, and talented. Everyday I get to sit with her for 2 ½ hours and watch her surprise herself at what she finds inside her own imagination.  She is skillful and yet willing to learn whatever it is I am trying to teach her.  She is an incredible leader and manages a team of men and women in the upstairs sewing room where they create their own handcrafted T-shirts.

For the first two weeks we have simply been designing together.  Each morning we draw, scratch out, re-design, re-scratch out, look at images on my computer for inspiration, design, and scratch out again.  I love that we are no longer fearful of what the other might be able to do better.  We simply risk getting an idea down on paper and then giggle when it looks like a complete mess!  We are learning design together and somehow becoming friends without being able to say all that we wish we could say to one another.

This week we are working on making patterns for a few new bag designs I made.  Pattern making is NOT a strength of mine, but again Hope and I are learning together.  I have struggled this week with feeling very inadequate in the skills I have, but I am choosing to embrace the opportunity to learn.

Here is a picture of the store where the products from the center are sold.  The store is beautiful and they have recently opened a café upstairs where my team is also doing some work.  Two of the girls are teaching cooking classes to introduce some new recipes.  If you know me, then you know I am NOT the one teaching cooking!  The rest of us are working on some renovation ideas for the café and also making some notes on possible editions to current products being sold in the store.

I am loving my time here in Cambodia and falling in love with the men and women at the Daughters of Cambodia center.  I can’t believe we only have a week or so left with them!  It is going to be very difficult to leave them all.

What you can be praying for:

1)    Time is coming to an end and there are still many projects to complete.  Please ask God that He would help us prioritize well and using our time here wisely while at the same time giving us time to continue investing in the relationships we have been building.

2)    Ask God to protect the staff and clients here at Daughters, especially the director Ruth Elliott.  Ask Him to provide financially for all their needs as well as raise up local Cambodians to fill the positions needed.

3)    Please ask God to maintain healthiness among our team, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally.

Here are some other random pictures of some of my favorite sights here in Cambodia!

This is what it looks like to be waiting at a traffic light in Cambodia!

Monks get their tuk-tuk rides for FREE!!!

This is the WAFFLE LADY!  She makes the BEST waffles in the whole wide WORLD!  No exaggeration!  Plus, they are fresh and only 12 cents!