10 November, 2010


Two years ago I was in Cambodia. Two years ago I saw first hand the depth of evil that one human being can inflict on another. But I also saw the resilience of those little girls, and the gift of joy in a country so dark.  

I wrote a blog about the encounter that changed my life:

"...She was six (at most) though she said she was nine. She had two little pigtails on her head, making her look like Pebbles from The Flintstones. She looked up and laughed as I tried (and failed) to say a word in Khmer. That moment changed everything. I want a picture to remember, I want an image to hold onto and say - this, this is who changed me. But all I have is a memory, reduced to the pigtails in her hair."

I have seen trafficking. I have seen the devastating effects of prolonged effects of sexual abuse. I have seen the world stay silent, I have seen the Church (occassionally) turn away.

But there is hope. I remember when we got out of the van that rainy morning - beyond the barbed wire and the guards and the lack of hope that seemed to mark every encounter until that point - I heard laughter! Genuine, deep, overwhelming children's laughter. And not just one or two - but a large group! A group of little girls, being little girls, running, playing and laughing together.

And in the aftermath of that trip - that is what I carry with me. The hope and joy restored to the lives of the girls we sat with that day. Going to a former brothel now a community center (where this photo was taken), and seeing how community development can radically change a community. I saw light restored to eyes that were once dark because of hopelessness.

It's hard to imagine two years have gone by. But this little girl (one of my favorite photos I've ever taken), outside the community center reminds me of all that can happen when light is brought into dark places. 

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