November 25, 2009

One Step Beyond Thankful

Four years ago, the Mr. and I were busy sipping gin and tonics at Siem Reap's Foreign Correspondents Club to ward off malaria and eating delicious duck in celebration of Thanksgiving.

When I think of the pleasure and excitement of our Cambodian Thanksgiving, the feeling is mixed with the sadness of the extreme poverty and children we encountered. I recall the heaviness that descended when we realized that the little two-year-old pictured above expertly handling her instrument was not gleefully playing but trying to sell us a souvenir. I remember the amazement of encountering a very shrewd eight-year-old girl who responded to our questions about her overpriced merchandise with a lecture on the economic theory of supply and demand. While we listened to her defense we noticed that she was looking toward some children playing in the river. We asked her if she goes swimming. She said, "Yes, I swim from 1 - 5, but I sell in the morning."

As The Toddler frolicks among the sofa cushions in the next room completely unaware that coins are for anything other than making pleasant jingling sounds, I am deeply grateful for our good fortune.

Going a step beyond thankful...

Watch our blog on Nov. 30 for details on how the travel blogging community (including yours truly) is sharing its good fortune by raising money to build a school in Cambodia.

That's right, our second annual Passports With Purpose fundraiser begins on Monday!