Lunch bar conversation

It has been a while since I have written, but I’m still here and still thinking each day of Cambodia.

The other day I received an unsolicited email message from a graduate student in Cambodia who wanted to say than you for having helped him (one way and another through employment and sponsorship,) get his degree.  What a wonderful thing to receive that message.

Then 48 hours later I popped into a lunchbar in Ellerslie, Auckland,  where I had a chat with the owner, a Cambodian, who knows about my involvement and commitment to Cambodia, and who has been weighing up how she, also, may assist her mother country.

It was a lively conversation as we shared experiences and shared also our dismay at how the burgeoning middle-class of Cambodia is ignoring the welfare of so many fellow citizens.  Cambodia has precious little safety net.  “But to ignore the poor just isn’t true Buddhism,” my friend said. She is going to be very choosy about who she supports in Cambodia – opting to help people in a specific village in the South.  She is worried by corruption, and the tendency by some people to grasp money intended for a whole village,  to keep for themselves. The gifts for monasteries are supposed to be distributed to the poor, she explained with a sigh. But that’s people.

But I wonder how many people over the years have been burned by this kind of greed that diverts a stream of goodwill and dollars into the pockets of the greedy.  Cambodia doesn’t make itself an easy country to love.

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