Vivien

Kids – the future leaders

I don’t know, if there is many better things to do during Christmas time than actually organizing a KIDS CHRISTMAS PARTY for hundreds of Cambodian Kids. Another event we’ve never done before. And the first biiig event on our Campus. I love pioneering. Challenges keep my life running 😉

For Khmers, Christmas might be just another ordinary day. However, for us it’s a great opportunity to spread LOVE, JOY, FUN, …..

Read here how you can add your own part to the this year’s Christmas story:

go to GIFT IDEAS

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Between pork and diamonds

A few days ago, I got a rather special task which I first really didn’t like but turned out to be quite interesting: On Elevate Campus, we got the delivery of the sheet metal which we would use to cover the roof of our Kids Church. Since we prefer double-checking everything and everyone, I needed to organize a tool to take meassures of the thickness of the sheet metal. No really good construction shop has dared to come to Siem Reap yet, therefore, I started at the sheet metal dealer. With my Khmer friend, I tried to explain, what I need. I had no idea what to call that thing in German, let alone English and she didn’t know in Khmer either. There was not much else left than to describe using hands and feet. The kind lady behind the desk smiled at us and replied that she didn’t have it and also had no idea if that was existent in Cambodia at all. Awesome. I asked her a bit unbelieving, whether she would ever control the deliveries. She – still smiling – went, no, that’s not necessary, the deliverer would only send the right stuff. Oh, I see. From such strong trust I need a piece!

From then on, I went searching by myself. Translation or not – anyways, it will not be easy. Firstly, I rode to the “Bosch”-Shop – pretty much the only one which sells good tools. Quickly, I had to detect that her English was worse than my Khmer. Stupidly, I had found it unimportant to memorize the words “thickness” and “taking meassures”. How foolish. Well. There was the other – seller or customer or angel? – who knew both languages surprisingly well. I explained him, what I was searching, he explained her and BLING! she understood. From a dusty corner she brought a tool with which you could take meassures as exact as millimeters. What a pity, that the sheet metal is thinner than 1mm. Well, let’s go then. The seller/customer/angel added incidentally that I should try in the jewellery section in Psah Leu – the local market. And disappeared. Without me having thanked him. I quickly took a photo – could be of use later – and looked again for the other guy. But I couldn’t find him. Weird. Maybe really an angel … ?

Let’s get real.

This entry is different from anything you have read here before. It’s about the other side. A honest reflection and probably something you don’t expect.

It’s been a year. Actually more than a year already since I left Switzerland. I remember it as good as if it had been yesterday even though it seems to be an eternity away. My journey was comfortable, took over 30 hours, within which I had to change the airplane three times. Yes, I do a lot to save money. And yes, I also missed a plane due to a delay of the one before. Smile. And if I had considered it as a “crazy challenge” that time (I didn’t), I would laugh at those thoughts nowadays. There is far bigger challenges in a life abroad. In a life as a volunteer in an entirely foreign surrounding with heaps of situations you have to face, to cope with, to get used to.

THE one

I’ve been asked many times, what is THE biggest challenge. Well, that’s not an easy question. And I guess, everyone in our team would answer it differently.
From my point of view, there is none. There is no BIGGEST challenge. It is the combination of various obstacles which appear sometimes to be bigger, sometimes smaller, sometimes don’t appear at all – probably depending on time, recent happenings and problems, mood.

I wonder.

I wonder when the day comes when we stop hating each other. Stop judging each other. Stop blaming each other. Stop complaining about each other. Stop correcting each other.

And when WE START LOVING EACH OTHER.

UNCONDITIONALLY.
UNCONTROLLABLY.
INFINITELY.

I wonder when the day comes when we start encouraging each other. Helping each other. Blessing each other. Forgiving each other. Elevating each other.

No matter what.

Pioneering. Once again.

“Hey Mamacita
wo söll‘s dänn higah?
London, Paris oder Rom? […]”

(“Hey Mamacita
where should we go?
London, Paris or Rom? […]”)

Bligg, a Swiss rapper, was shouting this into my ears at 4am on Saturday, 13th of June. I put him on snooze. Shut up, I thought and turned around.
5min later, he asked me again, “… where should we go?”.

TO ELEVATE OF COURSE !!!

and NOW. GET. UP. !!!

“I believe life is all about choices, and we can choose to cooperate with the words of death and sickness spoken over our lives, or we can choose to rise above them.”

“Family” knows no borders

A wonderful era came to an end some weeks ago. “My” drivers left the construction side Elevate. It was time since the first building phase was finished. And since the rain season has come closer and it started to be difficult to drive due to the mud.

Together we got up early and worked until late. We sweated. We partied and danced. Played football with empty water bottles – also called recycling. Went swimming. Laughed, joked, enjoyed our community. Celebrated one’s birthday. Together we suffered when a truck got stuck or a machine broke. We sought shelter from the strong wind or the rain. They taught me to drive the big excavator (- not easy!). To speak and understand more Khmer. And they taught me about their life, their family, their culture. However, my attempts to teach them English or Swiss German failed miserably.

They are more than people working for us. Rather like friends – or even like BROTHERS to me.

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Out of mind, out of sight?

Two weeks ago, I had to say goodbye to a big part of my Elevate Family. 85 women and men went home to their village. Most of them don’t have a new job. I wonder, what they’re gonna do?

Many wanted to work longer with us. Not only because we pay fair salaries but they said they love to work for us even though the conditions (esp. the heat) were not easy.

Why?

Job description of an Elevate Mommy

Daily life

It’s early in the morning, 6.45am, I’m on the way to our construction side of Elevate Campus. It used to take me double of the time to ride there, but nowadays I need only a few minutes to fly over the dusty, bumpy, holey “street”. I know it too well and could possibly drive there in my sleep. Behind me, a red fireball is rising. It’s already hot, probably over 30°C, or even over 40°C and the blue sky promises no pity. Likely to see a tornado today. Just like yesterday. And the day before. And last week.

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Tornado – daily sight

At one corner of our selfmade lake, around 70 workers are slowly gathering. As soon as most of them are here, I call out their names and mark on my list who is missing. Even after dozens of times, I don’t know the exact pronunciation. “Haun, Haoun, Ha-o-un, Ha-u-on ??” – Lots of laughter. Somehow, we always get it sorted out – even though the only words they know in English is “no” and “okay”. I am thankful that my Khmer is way better than their English. Right after the registration they start working at the shoreline and I hurry to the other side of our land.

14.-16.04.2015 – Happy Khmer New Year

 

May today there be peace within. May you trust
that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are
born of faith in yourself & others. May you use the
gifts that you have received & pass on the love that
has been given to you. May you be content with
yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge
settle into your bones & allow your soul the
freedom to sing, dance, praise & love.