The tiny girl in red caught our eye. We were in a church service with 750 people and about 650 were village children, but this little one caught our attention. She looked so small, so malnourished, so unkept & all alone. It is strange to our American eyes to see one so young just wandering around with no supervision.
Our team nurses found her later in the day hanging around the children’s center, but belonging to no one and they started asking questions. Through our interpreters, we learned from a group of elementary-aged girls from the village that this little girl has no family. We pushed for details and found out a story that is the story of so many children in Poipet.
The little girl is around three, though she appears closer to one. Her father had diabetes and died of a stroke and her mother left to work in Thailand shortly after she was born and has never returned home. She has a grandmother that has left for another village, so a neighbor girl around 8 years old keeps an eye out for her. She spends the night in the home of a village family, but when they work from 7am-7pm, there is no one keeping an eye on the child. She is left to wander the streets, hungry and alone.
This is the story of so many thousands of children in Poipet and places like it around the world. Her story leaves us unsettled. Her story leaves us wanting to fix the situation, but knowing our limitations. So what do we do?
We must continue to walk towards those who are hurting, those who are poor and those who are in need. If we don’t help, who will?
Tomorrow our nurses will return to the village and find the little girl. They will offer her what help they can and after that we will pray. We will pray for protection for her and those like her. We will pray for others to see her and meet her needs. We will pray for “thy will to be done on earth as it is in heaven”. And until the day when that comes to pass, we will do what we can each and every day to serve the poor that God puts in our path.
“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4