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Lent 2022 newsletter

 

Hang Tran, Cambodia

Klo immersed in playing with branches in the garden

There is quarreling going on… Oh dear! Klo is at it again, causing troubles with another kid. Like most youth at the Home of Hope, he was abandoned as a young child. Klo is in his early teens, has developmental challenges, but is physically able and needs a lot of attention.

Klo cries like a baby when he is frustrated. He throws objects that are within his reach or pulls toys away from other youth. When Klo is in a good mood, he initiates play by poking someone with a stick — sometimes repeatedly, if he does not get a favorable response. That tries the patience of other youth. Klo often does not stop after being forewarned. In due course, he runs away quickly from the people he has annoyed, then looks around to see if anyone else is game.

Klo poking another youth to initiate play

Arts and crafts do not interest Klo much, but he sits down for Legos. As the staff and I have various activities with the youth in the community garden, he comes along. This is a very appealing environment to Klo. He can immerse himself in the leaves and the tree branches, etc. for hours with a smile. When the weather becomes too hot for him, Klo takes off his shirt, pours water on his body to cool off, or wears my flower hat and clowns around.

Usually some older youth minds Klo, consoling him during a tantrum episode, or scolding him for misbehaving, or coming to his defense as necessary. Klo may not know much, but he tends to be calmer and more agreeable around the kids who are nice to him. Klo and his sense of humor are special to those who get to know him and make room for him.

The friendships and interactions among these youth are very down-to-earth. They participate in the flow of life one day at a time, by being who they are naturally and unassumingly. Somehow, Klo and his differently abled siblings appear like morning dew — a bright mirror for genuine reflection on the topic of love:

A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have love you, so you also must love one another (John 13:34).

Left: Klo being consoled by other youth. Center: Klo playing with my hat. Right: Playing with legos.


Please consider making a special Lenten gift to Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ “Walk With Us” campaign, which raises money for the recruitment, training and ongoing support of all of us lay missioners. We can only “walk with” the people here because you are “walking with” us. Thanks to matching gifts, every $100 given to the campaign in effect becomes $150. To donate ONLINE, click the “Walk With Us” button below. Thank you so much for your generosity! 

 

Hang Tran Hang Tran
A Maryknoll lay missioner since 2013, Hang Tran works with young people living with disabilities at the Home of Hope in Chom Chao, Cambodia. She also serves as Maryknoll Lay Missioners' regional director for Cambodia.