December 12, 2012

Dear friends and partners,

This morning I write to you with a heart full of humbleness and a deep sense of awe. 2 years ago I was finishing my breast cancer treatments at this time of the year. It was a time when I and my co-founders Phavi and Sieng were in the throes of working out our vision for Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital. We were discussing what that should look like, how big – how small – it was all conceptual. Over the past two years that vision has been refined again and again, land secured and you all were invited to join us. It was all still words.


This past weekend – the words have started to become reality- the construction process has begun. I cannot begin to tell you how I felt – a deep sense of joy – a quietness that is hard to describe – filled my soul. All three of us have put in a lot of effort but Sieng most of all – it was he who pored over endless drawings, made endless changes, and then changes again.  Sieng did not tell me about the beginning – he waited until there was a big hole – he wanted to surprise me - I went and saw – from one week to the next – the change filled me with a deep sense of humbleness. It has begun.

The location of the hospital is –as Westerners would say – the wrong side of the tracks. It is a phrase that means where the poor and disenfranchised live. As we drove past the factories were hundreds of thousands of young women work – I think of their lives. 6 day work weeks – 10 hours a day for $2.00 a day – young women who work to send home money so their families can have a better life – young women who live 10-12 people per small room – packed like sardines - for whom there is nowhere to go when their bodies hurt or when they are physically abused.

These are women from the wrong side of the tracks – women from all over Cambodia – women who give over their lives so that their families may live better.

This is the time of the year when Westerners look forward to expectation for the holidays that lays ahead – a time of expectation of the celebration of Christmas – an expectation of the New Year that is coming soon. I think of Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital becoming a sign of expectation for these young women – a time when there will be somewhere to go when they feel ill – a time when they can voice their pain and no longer be silent – a time when they will be heard and sheltered for a short time with comfort and care – a time when we can teach and learn from each other – a time when the news of hope, of care will travel throughout this land of sorrow – to women who hurt.

I live in expectation to celebrate the gift of grace; of compassion; of love shown by my God through Christmas celebrations. I live in expectation of the year that lies ahead – of all of you standing with us. I live in expectation of the comfort we can share with those for whom expectation is a luxury they cannot afford. I look forward with expectation to welcome them with compassion and care that is beyond understanding. It is all so very good.

May the expectations of the holidays that lie ahead fill each one of you with the peace and joy you are giving to millions who are waiting to be heard – who are waiting to be comforted through Nokor Tep Women’s Hospital. Happy Holidays to all of you!


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No. 109 Path Road, Prey Sor East Village, Prey Sor Commune, Dangkor District, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

  • Tel: 023 231 590/ 023 231 596/ 081 231 590/ 088 279 5050

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