Happy Khmer New Years

Dear friends and partners,

Happy Khmer New Years – yes, it’s the third new years for us in 2012.  Happy Easter – yesterday was a day of rejoicing.  In a couple of days – we will close Tabitha down for a ten day Khmer New Years break – it’s a time in Cambodia where everyone who can – travels home to their place of birth or where their family lives.

Like all our New Years it is also a time of reflection – we are 7 months into this program year and what a year it has been.   Last November a number of our project areas lost all their crops to severe flooding.  It was a time of sorrow and extreme hardship for so many.  A few months later – in the hottest time of the year – these very same families who were in despair are now rejoicing – their fields are full of food – rice and vegetables too numerous to mention – pigs, chickens, ducks and fish – all are being sought after by so many others for the celebrations this coming week.  For our families it means that prices are increased and they can sell enough to pay back their loans they incurred during the floods – for others it means being able to celebrate New Years as it should be celebrated – with food and gifts in abundance – first time for so very many of our families.  We have installed 1,651 sources of water these past 7 months – 3,204 families are working their way out of poverty – an immeasurable gift.

Crops and pigs

Khmer New Years is a time of buying clothes – for more than 3000 children the new clothes will be school uniforms – and pencils and notebooks – very exciting as we completed another 7 schools – with 6 more in process – for these children of 6-16 – life is very exciting as they begin their first ever venture into school.  What will it be like to write – to read – to understand the mysteries of this world?  How good is that!

Children

In the first seven months we have had volunteers come from all over the world to build houses for those who cannot – 772 new homes were built and given – for these families Khmer New Years is a time of welcoming people to their homes – of showing others what they have accomplished simply because so many of you cared enough to come and help.  Oh what anxiety must some of our families feel as they prepare to receive guests – for once to be the host rather than the guest – what food must we serve – where will everyone sleep – how good is that!

Houses

Easter is a celebration of hope and renewal – the past seven months have been months of hope and renewal – of believing in dreams that seemed impossible for so many of our families – of receiving courage and strength to stand and to move forward.  I thank my God for allowing us this privilege of being a part of so many lives of hope and renewal – of courage – of strength – of allowing all of you to be a part of all these lives –it can’t get any better or can it?

In the past seven months we reached out to 52,356 families with 418,848 dependents – you have enabled us to do much these first months of our year – it is so very good but there is still so much to do.  We look forward to this Khmer New Years as all of us together move forward to bring hope and renewal to so many who are waiting for us.  Happy Khmer New Years – Happy Easter to each of you.

Janne Ritskes