It was almost lunch time, Toun Bunthon, Visal’s younger brother, was at the back of their house preparing food for his siblings. Visal’s familiar smile greeted us when he took a pause in cleaning some clutter left behind by his two younger siblings from playing inside before they started running outside. The house is well organized and very tidy. From its empty space after the dedication, it now has beds, a closet, a small grocery cabinet next to the small stove and a small chicken shed located right outside their door.
“My godfather and eldest brother, who both lived in the main city because of work, helped us arrange the house one weekend. They both come visit us on weekends. We take turns in tidying things as we really want to keep it clean,” said Visal with a big smile that simply implied how delighted he was when their cleanliness was appreciated.
“I can clearly remember working with the guests (Hope Jourmey participants). It was a wonderful moment in my life as well as my siblings. It is something I will never forget as I can still feel the love they shared and their kindness toward my family. They were a blessing to us.”
Visal has now moved to study at Chumpu Vorn High School, closer to his new home while his brothers and little sisters moved to Trapaing Anhchang Primary school. They only need to spend five minutes of walk to reach their school. Visal spends around 15 minutes every day biking to school. “I now have lots of new friends in school, and I met one of my old friends who used to study with me in my old school. I was so happy when I saw him again! My new school also has good teachers and the school environment is fresh,” shared Visal. Visal also happily shared that he has gained new friends in the community.
Visal and his other siblings moved from MaryKnoll’s foster care program to finally live together in their new house. Their move was gradual, within a month, after the construction as they each had to take care of enrolling to their new schools. They were very excited that they once again could reunite and support each other all the time. “As I said before I never thought I’d have my own house and that we would forced be living apart from each other after our mother died, but things are changing now. I’m able to see change happening every day. I am studying hard, so I can get a good job after school to help my brothers and sister. I understand I have responsibilities, but I’m very happy,” Visal added.