Jannes July Newsletter
July has been a humbling experience for myself and my cofounders Phavi and Sieng. Let me try to explain. First thing was that we sent out our first serious appeal for 2000 people like yourselves to support the Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital at $100 per month. The response was immediate and generous from many of you – it allowed us to pay our bills and to hope that each month we would be able to pay our bills.
This challenge touched Phavi and Sieng in a special way. Both of them made a conscious decision that this should be matched by 2000 Cambodians donating $100 per month. This is not an easy thing in Cambodia – charity has not yet become a normal practice of many people. But the decision was made and last week they started talking to other middle class Cambodians. On Monday, Sieng sent me an email that brought tears to my eyes and touched my soul to its core. I would like to share a part of this email:
“I told you that we have good people in Cambodia, people who are able to donate, the kind of donation of $100 USD per month. Tonight I received confirmation from three families. Each of them promised to reach up to one more family, which is very promising. They trust in what we do. They are very normal people , merchant in the market place, low profile civil servant, deeply Buddhist believers in good deeds. These are the kind of people I promised to introduce to you. They answered to our family call. They will provide their photos to show on our site how confident they are in their commitments. Like Ghandi I believe in peaceful strength, quiet commitment and willful move forward.”
This week we had a very special visitor to the hospital. Hun Mani, the son of the Prime Minister, gave us the honor of coming and learning about the project. We were all a bit nervous about the visit as his position is a high one in the world of politics. Mani arrived and greeted all of us at Tabitha with tremendous respect. The staff was delighted to meet a man who was willing to talk at the same level. At the hospital site, Mani asked a lot of questions. He was not afraid to walk through the construction site nor was he afraid of getting dirty. He asked for no special treatment. He made us friends and equals and that opened our hearts to him and his heart to us. At the end of the visit, he asked what he could do. We offered him the position of being a patron. His response touched me very deeply- he looked us in the eye and he said, “I do not want to be given this honor – I want to earn that privilege”. I am overwhelmed with the humility and kindness of this man who could so easily abuse his position but instead chose to stand with all of us in the building of Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital.
Our second visitor was Ou Ratanak – the Cambodian advisor to the United Nations programs here in Cambodia – joined our visit. Nak’s role with the young in Cambodia involves several outreaches. He will take on a role of inviting the young people to join us in this venture.
It has been a remarkable month – each of you has made it happen – each of you have stood with us during this time and each of you are an inspiration and model for all of us here in Cambodia. I thank my God for this life, this challenge – for being a part of all of this. How good that is!