Jamie Van just graduated from high school in Huntington Beach, California and will be studying at Cal State University Long Beach's microbiology honors program in the fall. She spent part of her summer vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia, with her mother Jenny, the creative director of Senhoa’s jewelry program. Jamie donated toys and blankets to the kids at Lotus Kids' Club and invested in our newest project, a pilot vocational training program for the moms at LKC. She eloquently draws heartbeat of life in Siem Reap with that of the artisans' work at Senhoa below.
In Cambodia, you deal with a lot, and you really never know what to expect. Not all the days are perfect; sometimes, you might be surprised at the number of bug bites that magically appear on your leg. Perhaps, you might walk into a huge pile of mud or feel childish trying to talk to locals who have idea what you're saying. You might freak out when it happens but you'll have the best memories to recall in the future. After all, it's all those imperfect moments that create the biggest laughs.
More importantly, you learn a lot. You learn to smile and to be patient. Working with Senhoa's jewelry program helped me realize this. The students would make mistakes, and it felt great to smile with them and resolve the issues by teaching them what they did wrong and what to do instead. Everyone worked really hard during our stay. There were a lot of things to finish so organization and focus were key to our betterment.
We adhered to our plan. Our girls were making progress, the designs and kits were quickly finished earlier than we expected, and everyone was overjoyed with the project's development.
When I stopped by LCK to drop off the plush blanket toys, I was shocked by the patience that the staff had when working. Working with children is definitely a challenge, and I was amazed with them. Their time and consideration truly helped to aggrandize their positive influence on the children.
As we were unpacking the blankets and toys, more children started to gather around us. Their faces were curious and excited. It was a sight to see as the children were so happy.
Big thanks to the Senhoa team for giving us the opportunity to be a part of your cause.