Ryan Hoff (sick student number two)
#5: On Friday, January 13, we spent the morning volunteering at Dail, preparing and serving lunch to hundreds of children. Later in the day we took a boat tour on the Tonle Sap lake and saw where some of the children who had eaten at the Dail program live. Reflect on this day and what role the Dail program plays in “good development.”
The day we spent at Dail was both exciting and thought-provoking. After receiving a tour of the campus we were put to work preparing food for the meal that day. I had to be given a personal lesson on how to roll dough from one of the Cambodian workers after I unsuccesfully spent five minutes rolling dough for one roll. Then the children starting arriving in waves to recive their free lunch for the day. I do not know an exact number but I think around 600 children were fed that day.
I have mixed feelings about the work that Dail is doing in Cambodia and whether or not it can be classified as good development. Many of the children who come to receive food live in the floating village (which was an amazing sight to see, it even contained a floating school, basketball court, and central market area). The families who live here are among the poorest in Cambodia and only own small houses floating on bamboo sticks. Many of these families probably do not have the resources to properly feed their families. In my mind this whole scenario brings up two questions. First, is Dail providing food to children and families that may not be able to eat otherwise and could suffer from starvation? Yes. Secondly, is Dail also fostering dependency for these kids and families and preventing them from making lifestyle changes so they can provide for themselves? The answer to that is most likely yes as well. I would never say that the work Dail is doing is bad because they are helping people in need and spreading the love of Christ to those who need it most, but I also do not feel that they are helping Cambodians work towards a better future. From this trip and the student led conference I learned that bringing good development to a country in need is not easy, otherwise it would have been done already.