March, 2013,

 Dear friends and partners,

It’s been a busy month since we last talked – a month when we met with many of our Nokor Tep supporters. We held our second annual walkathon – it was a morning when it didn’t matter your nationality or skin color, your age or your wealth – everyone was the same for a few hours – and it was very good. The weather was beautiful, the countryside showing its abundance and beauty in crops and our walkers showing their compassion in walking the walk for so many of our Cambodian women.

In the process of registering walkers, a long time friend came to me. Caroline works with many of the labor unions – working on women’s issues and the conditions of the work force. She said to me, I didn’t quite believe what you told me last year about women’s health in Cambodia so we did our own survey – we confirm what you were saying but we learned even more – DID YOU KNOW that 40% of the women surveyed have prolapsed uterus? My mouth dropped – I was stunned – the average age of these young ladies is 19 – how could that be? How much suffering is there?

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DID YOU KNOW? Magic words because it is exactly this statement that covers my own ignorance – did I know. No I didn’t – ignorance is bliss – what I don’t know about others can’t affect me – but I am beginning to understand that although I may be ignorant and blissful of the pain of others – it does not mean that others don’t suffer. It is all about the silent suffering. I cannot imagine what pain, what thoughts these young ladies must have about their own bodies – what guilt – what shame is attached with something so personal. I cannot wait until Nokor Tep is up and functioning – a safe haven for those who have no haven – a place of comfort, of support, of compassion and healing.   

We had so many of our supporters come – Toetsteen Stichting from the Netherlands brought along a young journalist – she came, she saw, she heard. You know Janne, she said, I am a student but I believe that students would want to give – perhaps I can get one million students to give 10 euros. I am stunned by the simplicity of the concept yet overwhelmed by the magnitude of people to be involved.

DID YOU KNOW that today is International Women’s Day – DID YOU KNOW that Nokor Tep Foundation Singapore is walking today for the women here – wouldn’t it be wonderful if on today 1 million women gave $10 each for the women in Cambodia. DID YOU KNOW how great that miracle would be?

DID YOU KNOW that we had a French NGO, Objectif Cambodge come and talk with us. Isabelle Hua and other members of this group have joined with us in securing equipment to outfit the hospital. This gift comes complete with maintenance training and training in the use of the equipment. They will help us to vet all equipment offered from all parts of the world – making sure that this is equipment is suitable, can be maintained and people will train in the use of the equipment. How good is that!

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I had a team come and visit from South Victoria in Australia – it was an unexpected gift as the contractor put in the first test piling – there is something so very good about seeing our first real concrete step. One of the team came to church the next day – I asked everyone I know to give $10 for the hospital, she said – our 1 million people mark has lessened by what she saw and her passion for the women here.

I am so very humbled by the pain so many women here bear in silence – I am so very humbled that my God has allowed me to be a part of alleviating their pain. I am so very humbled that all of you stand with us to make this vision real. How very good that is.

Janne


#239, Street 51, P.O. Box 2361, 
Phnom Pehn, Kingdom of Cambodia
Tel: (855) 23 – 721038     E-mail: tabitha.janne@forum.org.kh
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