Mission ad gentes and CMI
CMI, the Marist Volunteer Network:
Reports from four participants in the CMI programme (PDF), from: Bulletin, 2014, No 1 (cf. “Publications”)
Link to CMI: www.champagnat.org/000.php?p=292Mission ad gentes:
Letter from Brother Bernhard Tremmel, April 2014:
Covered in dust, Brothers of Cambodia wish you all a happy New Year, the Year of the Horse. After an unusually cold and dry winter with night temperatures of around 12° plus and daytime temperatures of only 25°, we are now longing for the rain. The temperatures are now spring like, (20°- 32°) but the air gets ever thicker. Early in the year the people burned up the fields. Without rain or wind everything is covered in dust and ashes and Brother Max can no longer keep up with the vacuum cleaner!
All the Church festivities of Christmas and the New Year have as usual passed by without any great to do. After Christmas I was in Phnom Penh and met a young couple with their child in a guest house. The father pointed at me and said to the child, “That is Father Christmas” which seemed so from my appearance but was misleading for the youngster.
To help put up with the cold weather Brother Max built a stove in the garden and by burning rubbish and some wood was able to provide hot water which made for a comfortable daily afternoon shower. One could see from the homemade stove that Max is from Bavaria since it looked very similar to the “Hall of Freedom” in Kelheim.
The period after the New Year is often taken up with weddings. The never ending noise trumpets throughout the area from loudspeakers so that everyone gets it, particularly at night. Even our dog participated in the marriage festivities and gave birth to eight pups. It seems that her appetite has grown substantially since she has taken control of the chicken yard and killed ten chickens. As punishment our students shoved her in the cooking pot the following day.
The cool weather has been hard on our young Bunong. Cold of any kind ensures that our medicine cabinet is soon empty. So it is time to go to the doctor. In practice this works out as follows: you go to an establishment displaying a blue cross. Inside, you describe across the table to the “doctor” or “pharmacist” what is wrong. Then you will get two hands full of coloured pills (generally out of China). This treatment is also used for other complaints and leads to success or failure according to your strength of faith. But when there is a more serious complaint it becomes so expensive that it is beyond the pocket of ordinary people. We use part of our donations to try to help with authentic illnesses.
There are plenty of other stories but who is interested in those. Our work with the young people is making good progress. When our patience is really tried it is with public bodies (authorities) who function like clockwork, that is, if they are “oiled”. Our rented house has become a welcome passing-through place or meeting place. It is common knowledge among the students that we have free access to computers and clean toilets; the tap with drinking water is much appreciated. In our garden we have erected a group of seats from concrete and stone where people can meet and study together. We began originally with 17 students. Then 7 young people came from a private hostel: so the house is now full of young people. This situation and the beginning of the new year has prompted us to produce a budget for 2014.
Here is a list of possible projects which we have proposed after consultation with the local Church and checking our donor balance:
– 1 computer and learning material for Pulung
– 1 new kitchen for the nursery in Dak Dam + running costs and furniture
– Running costs for the nursery in Busra
– Contribution to meals for 3 students in Oreang and 7 in Sen Monorom
– 2 mopeds, 4 new toilets, 1 library, two sets of garden seats for Sen Monorom
– Remedial teaching, salaries in Sen Monorom
Since it is only the two of us working here now we are minded to find further workers and get them initiated who later on can take over responsibility. A computer teacher who does two hours a night has added to our small group of co-workers.
From this country, which is so different in all respects, we dust-covered Brothers greet once again all our friends at home. Political machinations and upset have as yet not interfered with our task of helping to bring a better future to Bunong. We don’t need fine words. A loving presence is better than a thousand words.
Tchum rieb lie – good bye till next time and a blessed Easter to you all from
Max and Bernhard