ICA Cambodia: Serving food to the poor
Cooking a healthy soup for 250 people is no easy matter when you're using a single charcoal burner but IofC youth in Cambodia manage to do this twice a year. Patients in public hospitals depend on their families to provide them with food and so it's a blessing for the patients and their families to have a meal cooked for them. It's also a time when the young Cambodians can learn how to serve society in a meaningful way.
The patients we feed are suffering from HIV/AIDS or TB so they are often in a very fragile state. The youth treat them with kindness and show them a lot of care. Chem Thornin, the president of Initiatives of Change Association (ICA) Cambodia, went into each room greeting the patients, telling them why they had cooked the meal and offering them encouragement. Patients received soup, milk, bread and a can of fish and money for the food is raised by the youth and donated by individuals, including the leader of the Canadian dental team that visited Cambodia.
At the end of our time in the hospital we returned to the ICA centre to prepare a dessert for poor people working on the streets in the evening. The youth package the desserts and then set off on their motorbikes, looking for people who are going through the rubbish in the markets searching for items that can be recycled.
A week later the centre was bustling with youth cooking an evening meal for another 70 street workers. All of these activities are carried out in order to bring the youth together and to learn how to care for society; this was common before the war but, during the years under the Khmer Rouge and foreign occupation, it was lost as people found it difficult to even care for themselves. All we need to do now is teach the youth how to clean the kitchen after their work!
Report: Peter Heyes