The air was jovial and serious at the little TAL kitchen. The consistant thud! thud! thud! of metal on wooden/ plastic chopping boards reminded us of our mission and our goal today: to feed little children on the facility at 2pm today.
Once everything is ready, we moved everything to the front of the house and waited for the kids. I’m in charged of the noodles. The kids sampeahed everyone in the yard, greeted everybody and then proceed to queue up quietly. Mavis stood by the side, cheerily greeted every kid that comes in and gently reminded me of their preferences. Some don’t like noodles, some vegetables. Most of them lapped up their food and asked for seconds.
This morning, we bargained our way through the tuktuks in front of Kochi-Ke and got a tuktuk that is willing to bring us to TAL for $1. Catch is, he doesn’t know where it is and Stacey would have to guide him. Upon reaching, he said that it is too far and he’d lose money if he brought us home for such a cheap fare. Before we could be pissed for his abandonment of us, he looked at me (I’m nearest to him) dead in the eye, and said,
I know this place. I thank you for helping the children of Cambodia.
TAL’s work will, if not already, impact the lives of hundreds and thousand of Cambodians and volunteers. And I am privileged enough to be part of it today. Does that makes me a worthy recipient of the tuktuk driver’s gratitude? Of course not, not yet anyway. His bold appreciation, however, did slap me across the face. It did made me want to live up to his expectation. And one day, I’m going to.