Today began with a much loved early start (insert sarcasm!). It wasn’t without good reason though, because we would be spending the day at Salla La Valla, a school run by the Marist Brothers, that solely cares for disabled Cambodian children. As soon as the pilgrims walked into the school we where immediately consumed by the kids. It was an amazing experience to see young children, who are missing limbs and have other disabilities, be absolutely ecstatic to be in our presence. It really showed the appreciation that the kids have for the fact that they are simply alive and they are deeply loved. After they gave us a tour of the school grounds and surrounding farmland, we all gathered and listened to some stories of how they became disabled.
Day 13 - Reflection
Another wonderful reflection that once again highlights the impact this immersion has had. To list and explain all your experiences, emotions and realisations is too enormous to contemplate but the memories you will take home with you and the greater understanding of the plight of others will be something you will have forever.
Adrian - everyone is looking forward to seeing tomorrow. The Mikus 'clan' will be at the airport!
Safe travels everyone!
Clare & Rick
Great reflection Julian - what a wonderful way to end your journey, sounds like you all had a terrific day.
It has been a privilege to read your reflections each day and to see the photographs, thanks so much to all of you for sharing your experiences with us.
And a huge thank you to the staff who are nothing short of brilliant. Your hard work, dedication and commitment is hugely appreciated. The boys are very lucky to have such fine role models walk alongside them.
Very much looking forward to having you home Ronan. There is a lot of hype here about the new Star Wars movie, which I know you will be dying to see! Conor went to the midnight screening with Brody and Charlie. No doubt they’ll be happy to go along for a second viewing.
Safe travels everyone see you soon!
Another wonderful reflection Julian. What a contrast in emotions you have all had over your last couple of days.
It had been a privilege to read your reflections every day and I can only imagine how much this experience has effected you all. No doubt your last 2 weeks will impact your life in ways that you can only imagine.
I am so proud of you all. You are so lucky to have had this immersion but the immersion has been lucky to have you. You have behaved so well and your families and Marcellin are very proud of our "fine young men".
James, I can't wait to see you tomorrow. Love you heaps.
Mum and Papa
Thanks Julian for such a wonderful reflection. It brought tears to my eyes at the vision of those children which such disabilities. I continue to be proud of all of you and the amazing work you are all doing. A huge thanks to all the staff for giving their time to allow this experience to take place.
Lewis I am so excited to see you. One more sleep !
Safe travels home pilgrims.
The Michelangeli clan.
Julian, I loved your post.
After my visit to Palin and the killing fields, I remember arriving into Sala Lavalla and as the kids ran to greet us I burst into tears.... (happy tears)..a memory I cherish seeing the innocent happy faces of children who had experienced so much of their own trauma and so welcoming to strangers.
I imagine you will all leave Cambodia with different highs and lows....You will all have your own memories to cherish with the friendships you have made with the Cambodians and bonds you have created amongst yourselves will stay with you..
I hope you enjoy your remaining time together, safe travels and well done on embracing and immersing in all that is Cambodia...
Thanks to Julian and to everyone who has written such thoughtful and informative posts. You have taken us on your journey with you - not just the events, but the journey of faith and personal growth too - and I am sure that all who have been following you are richer for your reflections. You will delight in reading them yourselves when you return and they will form a great record for you.
Thanks, too, to everyone who has written to this outstanding group of pilgrims. The depth of the responses you have been sending have been as nourishing for the extended community following their experiences as the pilgrims' accounts have been. Thanks to all parents, staff and student who have taken the time to send their messages through!
Safe travels home, pilgrims! I can't wait to catch up with you all in the new year.