The minute I met Ginger I was intrigued. She has such a zest for life, and I'm always excited to hear about her latest adventure. She recently returned from a trip to Cambodia where she met children infected with HIV and AIDS. I'm honored to share Ginger's voice.
Cambodia Gives New Perspective on Taking Risks
By Ginger B.
As the doctor told us these stories on our drive towards the outskirts of town, it became clear that these children had seen the darkest moments of the world: loss, physical pain, and shattered dreams. They had lost parents, felt the painful repercussions of HIV-related illnesses, and had an uncertain future dependent on medical advances and their access to them. On top of this, they lived in poverty. I expected a very glum situation.
As we drove back down the little dirt road, I felt privileged to be able to peek into this world. To see joy in people’s eyes firsthand, due to nothing except that for today, things were okay. Today they had some food, today they had health under control, and today they were surrounded by loved ones. That was all that was needed. What I realized is it takes very little to live, and the chance to be happy does not suffer as long a person has food, good health, and have a community to feel connected to.
So what does this have to do with risk? Many people, including myself, hold back from doing things because of the fear of losing something. Fear of losing time, money, or face to others and even yourself. What if this doesn’t work? What if it’s a waste of time? What will they think if it’s a total failure? Who am I to think I can do this? It can be paralyzing.
But, to look into a world and see somebody who has lost everything, and still see joy, the world still turning, hope and love still swirling around, then why NOT take a risk? There is nothing to fear, the best humanity has to offer is still there even at what most westerners would consider the “bottom.” The only difference is lack of material things, but this rare experience showed that our stuff isn’t the stuff that joy is made of.
T.S. Eliot wrote, “…And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Those children in Cambodia gave me something to walk away with that would change me forever, by showing me my own world in a new way.
This year, I will take more risks.To make a donation to Friends Without a Border, providing funding and program support to the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, Cambodia, please visit http://www.fwab.org/.