May 2012

Dear friends and partners,

This week it's been two years since I first discovered that I had breast cancer. I still remember how silly I thought it all was – this little hard pimple in my breast. I remember arguing with myself for several days before I called my doctor and then the cancer took over my life. I remember the only time I cried - it was when I told my adopted daughter Miriam – she cried and said, I have lost my birth mum – and now I will lose my real mum. My girl lived through a terrible year – always brave and funny and loving – always crying inside – terrified that she would be left again.

I remember how it was a time of growth for me – a time of realizing just how blessed I am – a time of recognizing that if my circumstances had been just a little different – if I had been born in a country whose history is very different from mine – whose culture and social norms saw women as just a piece of chattel – of very little worth – how that little pimple of mine would have resulted in a journey of increasing pain and sorrow – a journey of all hope lost – of remorse for leaving my family – leaving my children – lost and beyond poverty – leaving behind despair. I remember thinking of how this cannot be – of how great an injustice this all is.

I remember of turning to my God – getting an unassailable comfort knowing all would be well – of turning to my God for a vision of justice – for women who have none – of building a hospital that would receive these women with open arms – providing comfort and healing - of hope -of a peaceful and dignified passing if that is all that was left. I remember my God giving me that deep sense of peace and assurance that this would be right.

I remember sharing this vision with Phavi and Sieng and how the three of us shared this vision of justice- of mercy – of care. I remember how we talked – and talked – our vision always growing and changing – always moving forward. I remember how sharing this with so many of you – some of you were so shaken and despairing of the vision and yet within days – there were some who responded not so much with words as with a gift of money for this vision. It was not a lot of money but it was sure sign that this vision was right.

I remember meeting so many of the women I work with in Cambodia – women for whom there is no justice – no release – when they are ill. I remember so many of them giving from the little they have to build this vision. I remember how so many of you have stood with us in so many ways – working hard to give justice to the women here.

It has been an amazing two years – a journey that is leading to Nokor Tep Women's Hospital being built – a journey that is stretching out our collective hands in mercy – in justice to so many of the women here in Cambodia. I have a vision – a vision that not only brings justice to this nation but it will become a vision of justice for women all over the world. I believe in miracles - I thank each of you for being part of that miracle.


Stories of Cambodian Women


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