So it finally happened. I have finished working at Human and Hope Association.
I was terrified to go to work on Wednesday; I knew that the slightest thing would set the waterworks off. My team were prepped not to say anything nice to me, or to thank me, or to make a big deal.
The first person to break that was our Sustainability Assistant, Sophy, who sent her daughter (our student) into the office to give me a coconut. She then gave me another two coconuts later on. Next was Vanna, our seamstress, who presented me with a lovely, soft scarf at our team lunch. After that, it was the guys, who knew I had been eyeing our newest product, a large clutch. They let me choose what colour I wanted, then pitched in to buy it for me.
By the end of the day I was itching to get home and avoid anyone saying something that would result in me bawling my eyes out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t leave on time as the skies decided to open up and pour down an insane amount of rain. At 5:30, when the rain finally died down, I called Seyla to leave. I got on my motorbike, left the compound and immediately started crying.
Why was I crying? Sadness, pride, relief….a mixture of so many feelings, I suppose. I continued to cry on the way home, which didn’t make for an easy drive, and on and off through the night.
What I wanted to tell my team, but couldn’t, was how proud I am of them. They don’t focus on the monetary benefits of working at Human and Hope Association (which though it has proved substantially over the years, still isn’t on par with most NGO’s), the focus on what they can achieve. And they have achieved a lot.
Thai – We haven’t always seen eye to eye, but I do know that you have the best interest of HHA and our community at heart. You have been there right from the beginning, and stuck through it even when times have been tough. I am so grateful for that.
Salin – I have watched you turn from a boy into a man. You are so committed to educating our villagers, and improving the ability of yourself and your team so that we can have the maximum impact. You are amazing.
Seyla – I am so proud that you made the progression from being a teacher to a manager, and although it wasn’t easy, you really have developed a lot. In fact, one of my proudest moments over the last month working at HHA was the fact that you wrote a whole report without my reminders or my assistance. Now THAT is something you really should be proud of, too.
Bunrong – You are such a sweet guy, Bunrong. Always willing to lend a hand, always wanting to help others. You were born to be a teacher, and I know you will change so many lives with this.
Phyrom – I initially misjudged you with your serious face. It turns out you really do care about your job and the children; you really try to get them to love English, art and the library. You are a confident man who is very good at his job.
Sophy – You are a hard worker; I definitely couldn’t spend my days in the sun like you do. However, you never complain about it. You get on with the job, and are always willing to assist with whatever comes your way. I am so proud of you for studying Khmer and understanding that it is never too late to learn. You are setting such a great example for your children.
Phalla – You have developed into a woman over the three years I have known you. Keep working hard, keep taking feedback, keep developing and your life will continue to progress.
Chomrong – You are on your way to reaching your full potential. I have come to learn just how incredibly intelligent you are, and I am so grateful you took the opportunity to be our sewing teacher. I always wonder how far you may have gotten in life if you had been able to finish public school, however now I am not focusing on that, as I know your life is going to improve with this role.