With thousands of donated Among Us stickers, we decided to hold an Among Us-themed Christmas with the children at Love-A-Village. An online game that became popular during the COVID pandemic, Among Us was not known to the children living in the villages in Siem Reap as they did not have access to the internet. However, they were still thrilled to get the Among Us stickers! Something simple like sticking stickers all over their bodies and going around to challenge each other in the most universal game of scissors-paper-stone was fun and exciting! Play can be simple and still be fun. As I saw the children really getting into the game, I could not resist joining in the fun. Although we did not speak the same language, through eye contact, facial expressions and gestures, we played. I felt like a little kid all over again. Seeing their smiles warmed my heart.
This trip was my second time at Siem Reap for Love-A-Village Christmas celebrations. The first time was in 2019. I remember going to Peam Village and meeting Sreisros and the team, as well as Lovea Primary School where Mr Vanna welcomed us with a hearty lunch. Returning to Peam Village felt heartwarming – seeing Sreisros, the team, and the children once again. As the children sang “Peace Like A River” radiantly and bopped to various songs during the celebration, I felt proud and amazed at their growth (both developmentally and their knowledge of English language) and at the wonderful work the team has done to bring out the children’s potential. As I processed some of the film photos I took during the trip, this picture of Sreisros caught my eye. Bidding farewell to the children, I felt a heavy feeling, but in a good way. I felt heavily filled with positive energy and love as the children went their way, knowing that 2023 would be even better for them as they are in loving hands.