Highs and lows in Prey Veng

Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Sarah's News, Training | 0 comments

Highs and lows in Prey Veng

“Can you come out to Prey Veng province and run a story-smith workshop for a group of pastors and children’s workers?” a missionary asked me. I slotted it into my calendar and wasn’t expecting it to be too big a deal since Prey Veng isn’t far away.

Last week, I discovered there is an area of Prey Veng so undeveloped that it has the feel of being isolated and remote. The 130km took almost 4 hours to complete including a stretch of road under construction that proved one of my most challenging 4-wheel-driving experiences, in mud so slippery I often had no control of the vehicle. I then discovered that the missionary family I was staying with not only had a rather rustic house but a dry pit toilet, which I’ve never met in Cambodia before.

The following day, the 16 workshop participants and I quickly established rapport and got into the fun, games and activities that take people from never having made up a story to making up stories to teach effectively and telling Bible stories that result in life change. Unfortunately, the afternoon snack must have been touched by unwashed hands because that night I began to suffer giardia type symptoms.

Dry pit toilet interior

Dry pit toilet instructions: Lift the cement lid, do your business but pee separately in the red container. Throw toilet paper and ash into the pit, close the lid, empty the red container out onto the grass outside. (Not pleasant!)

The second day of the workshop was a real challenge as I was not feeling well, but it was great to see the participants develop and begin to get excited about their ability to tell stories. That evening, diarrhoea set in and I had many trips out the back to the pit toilet. I began to wonder if I’d be able to do the last day of the workshop at all. I reached out for God’s grace and healing power and slept for about 3 hours. I still had my doubts about my capacity to cope with the day but I gained more and more strength as the day progressed despite not having access to any medicine.

The final day completed the journey for the pastors and children’s workers and most of them finished with a sense that they could do what they’d never imagined they could before.

I took a different route back over more solid, though much bumpier roads, and arrived home amazed at how good I felt, given how the day had started.

Please pray for the pastors and children’s workers in Mesang district of Prey Veng province to see great fruit as they use stories to reach the hearts of Cambodian people.