Game Night

Much of my time in Cambodia is spent doing “special” things with the kids – taking them to a water park, celebrating at a church service, boogying at a dance party. Last night, however, we enjoyed some nice, relaxed family time.

At both homes we visited last night – Battambang 3 and Battambang 6 – we got to enjoy a couple hours of games. We played Skip Bo, Uno, chess, Monopoly*, pickup sticks, cornhole, monkey-in-the-middle and a bunch of Cambodian games you’ve never heard of. We laughed, we lounged, we loved every minute of it.

It’s amazing, by the way, how many games can be played with a couple of sticks, some rubber bands, a few sets of hands and a half-dozen flip-flops. These kids know countless variations of rock-scissors-paper, hot potato and duck-duck-goose; they could teach all of our spoiled Western kids (and adults) a thing or two about getting by with less.

Last night provided yet another confirmation that we can create families, rather than institutions. The kids here are truly at home, and they know how to live together as brothers and sisters with their aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents.

Sure, the mountain-top experiences – youth conferences, water parks, beach outings – are a big part of rebuilding these kids’ childhoods. But the real progress happens every day as the kids brush teeth, eat breakfast, walk to school, help with chores and play simple games as a family.

Thanks for helping Asia’s Hope provide for these families. Please help me find more people who can make opportunities like this happen for more orphaned kids all across Asia.



*Sort of. A pox on whoever thought Disneyopoly was worth creating. Explaining the rules and reasons for Monopoly to a bunch of Cambodian kids is hard enough. Replace Park Place and Broadway with Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast and the whole thing goes to nonsense pretty quickly.

BB3 kids play one of the many games that involve chanting and slapping hands. Our national director carried a real machine gun when he was not much older than these boys. I'll take legos over an AK-47 any day.Turns out Chien actually does remember how to play chess.The kids at BB6 play something like cornhole, but without the corn. And the hole.BB6's mom was a shark, but I beat her. Narrowly.

John McCollum1 Comment