A constant source of joy for me here is the youth around me. Where I work at A New Day Cambodia the office space is completely integrated with the rest of the housing and class space for the 97 youngsters and teens we serve. There is little respite from the noises of children and no task is ever too important for a pair of sweaty hands to refrain from wrapping themselves around my eyes or poking me in the ribs, jolting me from the deepest of concentrated trances. I love being surrounded by these little people and am happy to let little bits of them mark my day. It is rare for me to cross the street without a tiny hand tucked into my own; the first and last workday sounds are high pitched yells of joyful greeting or good night well-wishing. When I go home I make to-do lists around notebook pages filled with little doodles of astronauts, flowers and castles. This weekend, though I have time off, I was looking forward to cheering the ANDC team on at their soccer game and surprised myself by being a little sad when I heard it has been postponed. Though it might sound overly material and graphically expose my bleeding heart, it gives me no small sense of satisfaction to labor every day for these kids who would otherwise be illiterate garbage scavengers. Interviewing children for the newsletter, reporting to TOMS Shoes about the newest shipment and cataloging Tetanus vaccinations are indeed labors of joy. I have grown to love these children and am happy be surrounded by their warmth. When I am tasked with jobs in the computer room I go when the children are at lunch so the sounds of clanking spoons and silly chatter filters through the windows and I am propelled by sounds borne of growth and nourishment. A joyous noise.
Last week, filled with vindication, I narked out a teacher I found hitting a child with an electrical cord. Admittedly sometimes my own inner Miss. Hannigan threatens to rear her head from time to time. On occasion I have to suppress urges to throttle whatever ankle-biter lies in close circumference when they are particularly rowdy. But that is rare. Mostly I am content to relish the constant dramas, successes and failures of the blossoming and complex little people who fill my life.