Horiuchi Hiroko (Jesuit Service Cambodia)

Phnom Penh, Christmas 2003
Dear Friends,

How Was the year 2003 to you? Personally it was a good year for me. I took a three-month-off leave from my work to visit long time friends in San Francisco, Boulder, St. Louis, Virginia, New York, Fairbanks, Seattle, and Spokane. All their generosity, loving kindness and friendship made my trip possible, enjoyable and happy, I visited Karen K., in New York State, whom I had not seen for almost 40 years, though we felt that we had met from time to time. This is a beauty, in friendship. Thank you all.

In the world we have lived with "terrorism" since the tragedy of September 11. This sad event gave us a lesson of how awful it must be to live in fear of attacks from outside.
However it is unfortunate that the reaction with violence added to more violent intentions in the world. "Terrorism is a technique for killing people. That cannot be an enemy", said Z. Brzenzinski. Then a terrorist is the one who uses the technique for killing people. Who are terrorists, then? Are we, too?

In Cambodia the strong man still behaves like Saddam Hussein with violence. His name is similar to Hussein's too. Therefore he is called "Saddam Hun Sen." Sad! An honest ruler makes the nation strong; a ruler who takes bribes will bring it to ruin. How true it is!
My reflections for the last 6 years in Cambodia can be summarized in this recent happening: We celebrated with games, music and dances the Day of the Disabled organized by the National Committee on December 3, 2003, I helped to set up our booth and to explain our exhibited items to those who came to us. I took half a dozen Japanese big-strong-transparent-plastic-garbage bags with me, of course with a broom to clean up afterwards. At mid-morning I saw a group of high school students, non-disable, throwing away their empty paper cups, plastic water bottles and other items on the ground.
Therefore I brought one of my BAGS to one student and asked not to litter, but to collect all trash on the ground. He with two friends went around to collect them nicely. So far so good! A big smile on me! Though after filling up the BAG with trash, they did not tie it up but left it opened. Then suddenly appeared a group of street children with their bags to collect empty water bottles and some other goodies to sell later to get just ten cents for everything. One boy went where the BAG was and looked into it to find some goodies. Then he noticed the nice BAG and therefore emptied the trash from the BAG onto the ground and took the BAG for himself to collect more goodies. A heap of garbage remained on the ground. "Back to the Future!" "Another Losing Battle!"

I'm moving on to another place to give my service if necessary. I am now looking for such other place! Do you know of any place for me? My requirement is nothing financial and material, but to give some service to those who are helping themselves.
After leaving Phnom Penh on 21st December, I shall be back again in February 2004 to help out a study group from Japan for two weeks. Then, I can read and answer your letters.

I am very grateful for many good friends who have helped me through the years to help others. Thank you.

=====     Copyright ®1997-2007 Jesuit Social Center All Rights Reserved     =====