If you follow my blog, you probably know that I love to travel and I travel as often as I possibly can. As I’m packing for a trip on Thursday to visit my friend, Katie, in Fargo and see family (and meet my new little cousin) in Ohio, I’m realizing how quickly my trip to Cambodia and China will be here! Cambodia is one of my favorite countries in the world. I can’t explain why… the best way to figure it out is to go there. Every person I know that has been there has fallen in love with the country and the people. Their recent history is atrosious and something that isn’t well known in the US. Millions of people died in a horrific genocide in the 70′s and yet the spirit of the people is welcoming and peaceful. I’m reading a book called Cambodia’s Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land by Joel Brinkly. If you have even the slightest interest in world history, especially recent history, I highly recommend it. There is a quote in the book from Joseph Mussomeli who was the US ammbassoder to Cambodia and he says, “Be carfeul because Cambodia is the most dangerous place you will ever visit. You will fall in love with it, and eventually it will break your heart.” I can say, after being there twice, visiting a torture prison, killing field and reading this book my heart is broken. The good thing is that when my heart breaks I want to do something!
My friend Denise and I were in Cambodia in January and really wanted to volunteer and do something while we were there. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get anything together in time. Three days after we returned, Denise’s friend told her about an awesome organization called Safe Haven. Their mission is to provide a safe environment for children with disabilities and medical issues, allowing them the opportunity to have access to the therapeutic and medical resources that they need in order to reach their full potential and their highest level of personal independence. One thing I love is that they go to the villages… the children are not taken from their families. The families are actually educated about the problems their child has. They are given water filters and vitamins for the whole family along with other support needed.
Heather, the founder, happens to live in LA when she isn’t in Cambodia so we were able to meet up with her here! After hearing her heart and the goals of their program, we were SO excited to do anything we can. Since neither one of us have a medical background, the most help we can be is to bring highly needed supplies. So of course, if you know Denise or me, we don’t like to do things small. Yes, I could take a bottle of vitamins and make a small difference but what if I could bring an entire checked bagged of vitamins? How amazing would that be! Of course, I need help to do this. If you feel it in your heart to help, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can pick up your donation. If you are not local, you can always donate directly to Safe Haven. They have many different options for donating. If you cannot finacially help, please keep them in your prayers and feel free to follow their Facebook page to stay updated.
To see their wish list you can go HERE. Right now Flintstone vitamins with iron (they have to have extra iron!) are on sale at Coctso until May 27th! This might be a good option if you want to help but are on a tight budget.
Heather was kind enough to let me share a few photos she recently took at a village:
Heather walks with 6 year old, Chhitt
To hear more about Chhitt and his brother’s story go HERE.
To see more photos, check out their Facebook page.