This past Sunday, I had the special opportunity to adventure out of my little Phnom Penh bubble to hang out with the guys and hunt the rat. Yes, you heard right - hunt the rat. It's a common occurrence in Saang (district in which In His Steps operates part of their ministry.) When Solomon (IHSC Staff Member) invited me, I was super excited. I see these guys all the time, but don't have many opportunities to go out and just have fun. It was a blast! Because of my limited ability to speak Khmer, I wasn't able to talk much to many of the boys, but there is something about just being present. It was an incredible day. I've been working to build relationships over the last 6 months and recently, Sopheak (IHSC Staff Member) and I began discipling many of the boys that went.
So, after church, we headed off with slingshots in hand to hunt the rat. We walked away from the Foundation Center down this little dirt road and came upon a boat. I should have known, but I wasn't sure how the boat was still floating...lol. I guess that's all part of the adventure, huh? We all hopped on the boat and took off down this narrow canal out to the open marsh/swamp/lake in search of the mountain that contained many of these little tasty rodents.
While we were out, we saw huge cranes, a white-lipped tree viper, and mounds of large ants. After many close calls with potential rat kills, we made it to the base of the "mountain." It was definitely bigger than any large hill I've climbed here in Cambodia, but I wouldn't classify it as a mountain, per se. After getting stuck in the thick vegetation floating on the surface of the lake, we finally found a spot to dock. Our first stop was a disaster. We all got out and immediately found ourselves among enemies. The Cherong, as my friends called them were these nasty hornets. They were all over in their little hives. We decided that spot wasn't the best, so we hopped on the boat and found a more desirable location.
Once we docked, we were all on the lookout for the rat. Funny thing, is that we never got one. The boys did, however, successfully find several kinds of fruit. They found a bunch of grapes and decided to play a little joke on me too. They were like, "Ba-ime, Jacob. Ba-ime." That means sweet in Khmer. So I gave it a shot and I can't describe how sour those grapes tasted. They just laughed and laughed.
After about 3 hours or so of looking and hunting for the rat, we decided to call it a day. We hopped back on the boat and headed home. On the way back, our boat broke down twice and we just happened to stumble upon the dad of one of the boys with the right tools to fix our bonnie ha (problem in Khmer). Wow. We ended up getting off at the base of the Saang water treatment plant after breaking down again and walked the rest of the way back.
When I got back home, I was beat, but I had one heck of a time with those boys. It was incredible. After moving to Cambodia, I found myself rediscovering the value of relationships. That's one thing Cambodians do really well. Most of the time, they stick close and are experts on how to be relational. My relationships here seem years old, but we've only been here 6 months. I know God is in the midst of what we are doing, the relationships we are building, etc. I love how distractions are far and few between and our friends are the ones that matter. Love the people. Love it here!
Enough rambling for now. Enjoy the photos.
Solomon showing us how it's done. On the right is the group that went.
Wa na, our Captain. He was goooood.
Our snake find. The White-Lipped Tree Viper.
Another shot of the group.
Everyone going in for some fruit.
Solomon holding up some fruit I've never had before. On the right, Wanate is holding the "sweet" grapes.
A view from the top of the mountain.
A group shot of everyone that went. Thank you self-timer!
A group shot of everyone leaving. Sopheak, Wanate and I on the right.
Solomon is one funny man...
Sopheak, John, Wanate and I.
At the base of the water treatment plant. It was a long walk home.