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GRIFFITH GLEANINGS FEBRUARY 2019

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Better is a day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. Psalm 84:10


GRIFFITH GLEANINGS FEBRUARY 2019

Sometimes when we have visitors to Cambodia we get asked to describe a typical day in our life here as cross-cultural workers. There really are few days that are the same. We might start a day with a plan, but it can quickly change at a moments notice. Today Deb is having a fairly standard start to a Monday morning having a language lesson with a Khmer lady a similar age to her that lives in a nearby village. Earlier she got out for an early morning bicycle ride for exercise and a devotional time. Many mornings Rob would have also had some bicycle riding exercise, but soon after the 5.30am alarm he was running to the toilet with some unexpected gastric that has modified his activity somewhat. Often a Monday morning for Rob might involve up to five hours of language and culture lessons with two different Khmer men that nurture his learning (one class starting at 7.30am and another at 2pm). Yesterday Rob had found out that both men were otherwise occupied today; one leading a visiting team with some team Cambodia members to a cultural experience in his home village and the other taking tourists to visit temples. The unpredictability of lessons in the tourist season has made it appropriate to keep two teachers employed for the time being. Deb in her lesson might be unpacking the cultural insights from the wedding that we attended in her nurturers home last week. An event that maybe spoke as much about her nurturers Buddhist faith and the culture of making ‘merit’, as it was a cultural example of a Khmer wedding. This was a ceremony that was not for a member of her family, but two people that maybe couldn’t access the capital to get married without her charity.
Should Rob have sufficient energy return, he ironically plans today to drop off a water sample to a laboratory that tests the safety of water for drinking. One of the team member families (who happens to have had more than their fair share of upset stomachs) has recently moved into a home that has bore water that comes out of their tank an unhealthy colour and smell. Sometimes the ground water in this area is of mineral water quality, but it can also other times carry undesirable organisms, or heavy metals like arsenic. It is good to be informed about what you are washing and bathing in for peace of mind at least.
A day would hardly be complete without Deb taking a visit to the local market, which for most Khmer women is a daily activity that is made necessary by most homes and businesses not possessing a refrigerator. Visits to and by neighbours is a normal activity most days. We are often given a sample of freshly harvested vegetables from gardens. Our landlord’s family who live in a small wooden home just outside our back door all have been very unwell  for over a week. We both have been helping them during this season.
Additionally a typical day requires revision of our Khmer language learning in order to speak clearly, write Khmer better and read Khmer with growing understanding. Tonight we have been invited to attend a Chinese New Year celebration with Khmer friends, who like many Khmer have either some Chinese background or influence. Also today involves a couple of Skype video conversations including  one with one of our children that is always a highlight. If another day this week was reported we might have described a team meeting, trip to Phnom Penh for our annual drivers licence renewal, or volunteering at our local school or health clinic. There is not too many dull moments in this cross-cultural life.

Above: Sharing with a Global Exposure group from Melbourne. Each member brought special encouragement to Rob and Deb, as well as others within our team and Khmer friends. Right: A Khmer marriage ceremony
Thankfulness:
For many invitations to festivals, weddings etc in our community at this time of year.
For visiting teams that have brought encouragement and even some gifts of items unavailable locally.
How the Global Interaction team grows into a supportive community for each other.
Prayer Requests:
For positive progress of visa and work permit requirements for all team members.
Discernment of work platforms for new team members.
For good outcomes from health checks.