Mairead McNalley

I was talking to Andrew today about how it’s easy to daydream about growing up in these villages. The jungles could provide endless entertainment, warm weather year round, and just cruising the streets with your buddies as a kid seems ideal. The children are beautiful and when we drive by in our Jeep and witness them playing games it’s hard to think of their existence as harsh. But it is harsh. When driving to our village I saw children wading in a pond. As we drove past I realized that they were not leisurely playing but working in rice fields. There was one particularly adorable boy, probably four years old, that we met this morning. As his older brother introduced him I saw sores surrounding his shy grin. It is easy for the suffering to get covered up by the romanticism of the jungle and adventure surrounding our trip, it is easy to be distracted by the free-spirit of these children, but it takes only a slightly closer look to realize the strain so many are under. There is just too much to take in here. I try to look everyone I meet in the face and picture what his or her life is like. I have loved every second of this experience so far and know that it will only get better!