Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Awash in Gratitude

We traveled to two more temples today and will visit a floating village, orphanage center and silk farm tomorrow. I have never seen poverty like this so up close. I teared up as our bus passed by one village. I never want to forget the feeling of gratitude that washed over me as we drove by people sitting on dirt, walking barefoot, children with shirts on but nothing else-- literally NOTHING else. They shared their front "yards" with sickly looking cows, goats, cats and dogs. The streams we passed were murky and dark-colored. I cried because I thought of how even the most basic requirements many Americans have: running water, clothes, SHOES, a few dollars, the ability to go to school-- and more, would all be considered the possessions of a materialistically well-off person in the eyes of the people I saw today. Yet, in the midst of all this sadness I heard a little girl giggle in one temple as her mother (who was working in the sweltering heat) took time to show her some attention. I gave another little girl my bottle of lemon tea, but her smile made me feel as if I had given her liquid gold. Along that drive, I saw a rice paddy, a parade of balloons as women shielded themselves from the sun, lotuses and amazing ruins at Banteay Srei. The journey continues.

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