Nick – our one-and-only tuk-tuk driver – and I rocked up to an unsuspecting little shop; the owner thought all her Christmases had come at once. We stocked up on 45 presents – balls, stuffed toys, rubitz cubes, trucks, plastic badminton sets. A wild and wonderful variety of stuff for kids.
The hats and the balloons were a great hit and set a festive tone for the morning.
The kids were so excited because they have never had their very own personal toy before. Vichika lined them up and played Santa Claus.
They squealed with delight when they got their presents.
Some promptly went home to stash them. Many of them shyly thanked me. It really was a heartening morning. And the total cost of bringing so much joy to such deserving kids was $140, gracias to the money donated by Iris and Dennis.
On the good news front, Vichika has a cleaning job at a factory not far from the dump. She makes $80 a month so life has gotten considerately easier and she doesn’t have to go and scavenge through the garbage every night. I’ve contacted the people at Cambodian Children’s Fund — https://www.cambodianchildrensfund.org/ – and will set up a meeting in the next week or so for Vichika and her daughter to visit. There are a couple of other dump kids I’d like to get into the residence there.
The last time we went to the dump Paul gave Vichika $20 to get some steps built for her shack. There used to be a ramshackle door with a rotting piece of plywood over a hole and a couple of horizontal pieces of 1×2-s for traction to get in and out of the house. Take a look at the new-improved entrance.
The next visit will be with 50kg of rice and some tinned fish. We are also lining up an ice-cream visit for the 87 kids at A New Day Cambodia – cost about $27 – and then going on to the dump with the same treat for the kids there.
Down in The Dumps is such wonderful fun. It is humbling to see how much can be done with so little.
Jody, the honourary Christmas elf