Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Somnang

Sometimes it's hard to pinpoint a favourite moment from a trip that encompasses so many moments and emotions. This trip to Cambodia is no different, there were moments that just stand out in my memory and keep coming back to me but none more than this one, captured by my friend, Juanita.

I was sitting on a bench outside of the baby house, while others on my team were inside visiting and photographing the littlest residents at Place of Rescue. It was hot and I was enjoying just sitting for a few moments, listening to the sounds of the preschoolers learning lessons through a nearby window.

An older woman came around the corner, carrying the most beautiful little girl. I had seen her on our first visit to Place of Rescue but I hadn't had time to really meet her other than to hold her hand and say hello. As they came over, I offered to hold the little girl for her house mother. She handed her over to me and I held her in my lap. Her name is Somnang and she has lived at Place of Rescue since 2011, when she was found at night abandoned in a market place. She has some severe disabilities that may have resulted from a birth trauma or perhaps from her parents trying a rope around her neck and dragging her. Whatever physical deficits she may have, she has an incredible joy and smile that completely radiates from her. Holding her, she smiled and looked into my eyes and though language was an obstacle, I started to play with her as she put her fingers on my face and near my mouth. Pretending to chomp on her fingers brought gales of laughter. This sweet little one is so beautiful and her life is completely different than it would have been had she not been brought to Place of Rescue. She has a mother now who takes such good care of her, and treats her with love. She has siblings that know her and play with her and speak with her. She has a safe place to live and learn and grow, and she has those that are working hard to get her to Bangkok, so that she can be assessed and treated for any of her disabilities that can be improved.

You'd never look at Somnang and think of her as "lucky" if you didn't know the story of her life, but lucky...blessed...loved....these are all words that describe this small girl. And they are the words I would describe feeling just holding her in my arms and playing with her for a short while.
A favourite moment with a very special girl...

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