By Kimberly Johnson
On Friday I got to see the heartbreaking reality of what most Cambodians go home to. Most of our trip has consisted of caring for the part of the population that came to us, or that was able to go to the hospital. The reality of where these people come from is harsh. Small single sized rooms that are housing up to 9 family members, mats laid out across the floors for sleeping, no A/C or fans even in the harsh Cambodian heat, and limited resources for clean water. When I first arrived to Cambodia I thought the images of poverty from the street were bad, but the feelings I had then did not compare to the feeling I had once I viewed the homes of many Cambodians. The sad reality is that these people are living in conditions worse than anything imaginable. Their homes are not places of rest, recovery, and peace, they are filled with the constant reminder of the turmoil these people live in. Each one of the families our team visited had family members infected with HIV. We heard their stories full of unimaginable hardships, including tragic deaths of family members and even near-death experiences for themselves. Through all the oppression that these people have faced they have pushed forward; they continue to work hard everyday to provide for themselves and their families.
I have learned many lessons from the people of Cambodia but one of the most important is resilience. They do not let poverty or sickness define their lives, and they never once let it stop them from searching for joy.