The highlight of my trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia was the chance to visit Pesai, the little girl I sponsored shortly after my first visit here. I only vaguely remembered her from my last trip. My decision to sponsor her came from seeing her photo and reading her background information. My decision to sponsor from this orphanage, The children’s Sanctuary, came from my contact with Dr Andrew Clift and his wife Dawn Cornish. An Australian couple who are doing marvellous work in Cambodia. You can read more about them in a previous post. There are many orphanages in Cambodia but one needs to be very careful. If you wish to visit an orphanage when visiting the country do check it out as much as possible first. The Cambodian people are lovely but there are many dishonest people here too who would gladly take your money.
I never imagined I would be nervous at meeting Pesai again but nervous I was.
Before leaving for Cambodia I had spent many weekends shopping for presents to take to the Children’s Sanctuary with me. With a suitcase full of stickers and colouring books as well as pencils and spinning tops off I went. I had also bought dresses for Pesai as well as a bag and a doll. These were to be her special gifts from me and I was very excited to give them to her.
When the day came to visit I phoned my friend Sochenda who works there. Sochenda and I had become good friends since my last visit. I knew I would never find my own way there and the tuk tuk driver seemed to have no idea. I handed him the phone and Sochenda gave directions. Soon after negotiating a price we were on our way to the Sanctuary. Here is a picture of Sochenda I had been disturbed by the news of the hand foot and mouth outbreak which had already claimed the lives of many children and of course there was also the threat of Dengue fever. I was thrilled I was still allowed to visit. As my tuk tuk pulled up the children ran to greet me. They knew I had gifts. At the front was Pesai who was smiling widely at me. The children were so excited by my bags that I had to give them their gifts immediately. Pesai’s face lit up on seeing the doll and she held it close for the rest of the afternoon. The staff were keen for her to have photos taken with me and she seemed just as pleased to have them taken too, even putting her arms around me.
It is very humbling to do something so simple to help someone else. Pesai has no family. Although all the children will go to school the sanctuary depends heavily on donations and sponsorship. Dawn is happy to discuss sponsorship with anyone and you don’t have to donate a fortune either.
It was an exciting visit for one of the other children was having a birthday party so I joined in the fun and celebrations.
Most of the children in the Sanctuary are well but there are some that aren’t. Like one boy I met who has HIV and is deaf and mute. I took many photos of him as it made him happy to see them through my camera. He laughed a lot.
My happiest moments in Cambodia have been spent at the Sanctuary. I hope through my photos you can enjoy the visit too.
For more information on The Children’s Sanctuary go here and you can like their Facebook page. If you would like to help please contact Dawn Cornish through their web page or contact me by leaving a comment and I will email you back.