Sitting listening to Billie Holiday, chilling and hearing the low drone of traffic in the not too far distance. I am well and truely in the thick of it now. I look like a true pro crossing the road with confidence while inside I am petrified as one wrong turn and I could be toast. Then on the back of a motorbike, I relax, hands free, no longer white knuckled grip on the handle. That is apart from one night when I got a truely insane driver who was going 90 on the motorway, swerving in between trucks and heavy traffic. That was scary and weirdly kind of thrilling! Ah, yes taking it all in my stride. I eat rice like a local and my daily ration of cafe sou da is a staple part of my diet. The lady that sells me coffee now warmly greets me, not like at first when she was shy, a little suspicious.
My work is growing all the time, building momentum, building new friendships, building all the time. The kids at the Social and Medical Centre start to recognize me now and tug at my necklace or just want a hug. My haggling skills are improving but marginally-I am sure have been ripped off many times over, but all part of the story. I took pictures the other day of a small Tet (lunar new year-it is a magic time of year and the atmosphere is electric and a big family time) party at CNCF. These people were the poorest from the sponsorship programme and were invited to recieve gifts and give them the chance and right to celebrate like everyone else. That's what's amazing about this work. It works to help people with their confidence, their sense of pride in the world. A disabled man in a ramshackle wheelchair moved me to tears. There he was with his young son, probably travelled a great distance to get there. He proudly wore the most immaculately clean and ironed shirt and his whole demeanour was that of gratitude. I went to shake his hand and was recieved warmly. These are the moments that keep me in check. That make it all absolutely feel like this is the right experience for me now. Ok, so homesickness starting to creep in but I guess that's normal. I am off to Cambodia at the weekend to sleep and trek in the jungle and take this adventure to new and dizzying heights. Never a dull moment in SE Asia and that is for sure.