"come see what my kids did!" aunty kim beckoned excitedly, laughing as she wrapped her arms around one of the little boys giggling beside her.
"they were showing me space! they said, aunty kim, want to go to space?!?"
i quickly ran over to see what was going on. the lights in the boys dorm were all switched off. the surrounding area was pitch dark by then, as the phnom penh village still had limited access to electricity. yet it was too early for these boys to possibly be sleeping. what could they be up to?
i reached the window of one of the dorms and peered in.
it was like i'd peered into a vortex of a million and one brightly glowing stars. stars everywhere i looked - on the walls, the ceilings, the floor. i couldn't help but gasp at how beautiful it all was, until i was quickly distracted by little boys jumping from the top of one bunk bed to another, fighting each other with lightsabers.
and then it caught my eye. how the magic all started.
a bunch of genius little boys had cut open the tubes of the glo-sticks we had given them earlier and were proceeding to fling their glowing contents everywhere and on everyone. there were little glowing aliens running around everywhere chasing each other with glo-juice on their backs, laughing hysterically.
it was impossible not to burst out laughing too.
the lost boys, was what immediately came to my head. carefree, wild, and full of spirit, just like the boys in peter pan.
and then i walked over to peer into the next dorm, and the scene changed. one of the boys waved at me and shouted, "see our club! we're going clubbing!"
a portable speaker complete with glowing led lights then suddenly made an appearance out of nowhere, and started pumping out club hits. a ring quickly formed around a group of little boys who were dropping some sick dance moves as they faced off in the circle. the glo-juice harvesters had made it to the club too, and were flinging sparkly, glowing liquid over the dancers.
only in cambodia.
these kids barely saw their familes. barely had a place to call home. on the surface, it seemed like they had next to nothing, but maybe, looking closer, they had everything that was needed for a good life.
a heart full of gratitude. for food in their bellies and a place to sleep. but more importantly, people around them to love and be loved by.
maybe they even had more. i mean, how many city kids would be able to do what they just did, i thought. fling glo-juice everywhere and not get the whacking of their lives? maybe these kids know more about joy and contentment than our city kids with all the gadgets, toys, and amusements that money can buy.
i want what these kids have, i thought to myself. to own no things - but to own everything.
to spend days filled with laughter, spontaneity, company, merriment, imagination. to wake up on a hard wooden bunk bed one morning and go to space at night.
i want to experience life like that.
simple. eyes washed in wonder.