Dedication Day In Cambodia

February 13, 2017

Today is dedication day.  This is the day when work is done and the house is blessed and turned over to the family.  It is the culmination of all of the hard work of the team, the family, the Habitat team, the skilled workers and the families.
Before I share about the dedication, we started the day with a trip on the Bamboo Railroad.  It is this funny little tourist attraction that was amazingly fun.  The Bamboo Railroad is a flat car made of bamboo with 4 pillows for the 4 riders and 1 driver at the engine.  It was a little like a ride at the fair.  We went 20 minutes one way- had a beautiful view of the country side, and some got to go really fast.  Then of course there was shopping along with riding.
After the Bamboo train, We traveled to the site for the dedication.   It was a four part ceremony that was incredibly moving, touching and FUN!   We began by decorating the homes with balloons and then had a ribbon cutting ceremony for each house and family.  At each house half the team went 2 by 2 to make a little cut in the ribbon that the family then cut through for the final cut.  When the family cut the ribbon we showered them with cut flowers that looked like the Macy's day parade.   The family was then handed a ceremonial key to their house.  It was really lovely.
Next we retired to our shade tent and were given the opportunity to share with the family and they with us what this week has meant to each of us.  It is hard to share the beauty of the moment. It is truly hearts transcending language and culture to connect.  Many shared their gratitude with the family for the opportunity to share in their lives and help build their house. It was an honor.   One person captured it perfectly- it was a beautiful exchange- they have given us a memory of a lifetime and hopefully we have helped give them a home for a lifetime.  The family then shared their hearts with us.  There was much gratitude and many, many good wishes for blessings and prosperity.
The sharing ended with dancing and the dousing of the team in baby powder. (think India's festival of color or the 5K Color Run in Raleigh)   There is something about being covered in white powder that invokes even more dancing and much laughter.  The family, the kids, and us, all in a joyous celebration.
We ended the dedication with lunch with the family at our favorite lunch restaurant.  Then with hearts full and just a bit of sadness we said a final good bye to the families to drive to Siem Reap for our final days of the trip.
It was a beautiful and soul satisfying day.
This post was written by community volunteer Megan.