Phnom Penh, the capital of
Cambodia, a land ravaged by war and the terror regime of the
ferocious Khmer Rouge (Cambodian revolutionaries), who created a
dictatorship and brutally exterminated two million of their own people,
nearly a third of the population at the time.
In the old town of Phnom
Penh you can visit a labour camp which has been turned into a museum, where
there are photos and drawings which recall the brutality and which
leave you lost for words.
We take a van from the
capital to the village of Roong, some 30 miles away, moving from the
hectic city centre – leaving via the outskirts made up of shacks
and street sellers offering scrap metal and tyres – until we are
surrounded by paddy fields.
It was fantastic to see
the 350 children celebrating our arrival. Barely more than three feet
tall, they were stood in two lines wearing Inter shirts and they
clapped and waved to us in a shy but affectionate way.
These children’s jet black
eyes emitted a contagious enthusiasm right from
the start of the educational activities, as the first kicks of the
ball and the games on the pitch were all accompanied by a sense of
enjoyment and great happiness.
As football is not widely
played in the country, the role of the coaches is even more
important, while the positive effect on the children is immediate and
great to see.
In order to take part in
these activities and to attend the school that "Mission
Possible" has built for them, the children journey from afar,
walking alongside the paddy fields in temperatures exceeding 35
degrees and in humidity which is almost unbearable for us. It’s
lovely to see that the children are keen to start and turn up very
early for the activity.
The backdrop of paddy
fields extending as far as the eye can see is divided by geometrical
lines – dirt roads waiting the work of foreign multinationals, which
are starting to delocalise the industrial production. The houses are pile
dwellings where large families live with farm animals.
Drinking water is filtered
from the few wells to be found and there is no sewage system. Dumping
grounds are all over the place – next to them rise shacks because
the main source of income is separating rubbish to earn a few
The work done by Mission
Possible in this area is indispensable for the children’s future and
being here with Inter Campus reminds me once again how important it
is to help these marvellous boys and girls grow up by providing them with rules, an
upbringing, fun and joy.
Until the next