The journey began just a few weeks before our departure for Cambodia, which was planned for February 21, 2020, in a context of uncertainty and doubt. People I knew, and the media, strongly advised against travelling to Asia because of the situation related to Covid-19.
On top of this, my flight was cancelled just a few days before departure, with no guarantee of reimbursement. This I took as a sign of destiny and I resolved that I would not go.
Three days before my planned departure date, I had my ticket reimbursed. I was convinced that my apprehension should not prevent me from achieving something so dear to me.
I decided to buy another ticket, and off I went.
Fear and apprehension followed me all the way to Cambodia. A number of questions kept running through my mind, and my preoccupations, over and beyond my worries about the health crisis, concerned the role I was to play.
Was I going to be useful to these children, was I legitimate, was I in my rightful place? Was it for them that I was leaving? Or was it for me?
When we arrived in Sihanoukville, we were right in the middle of a gigantic construction project, luxury hotels, casinos, in such contrast to the slums, the dust and the garbage lying on the ground.
In the middle of this sinister backdrop, we arrived at the M’lop Tapang centre. It was here that I met those children for the very first time. They moved me so deeply, and the memory of them, with their history, remains engraved in my memory.
I remember an inseparable brother and sister. The little girl refused to leave her brother for her osteopathy session, so we decided to lay them down side by side. We put our hands on them, and gradually the little girl calmed down with her brother’s words and caresses. We were moved, and marvelled at this brief moment they shared, such a great moment for us.
Another place, and another consultation. A little boy about 5 years old was suffering from a genetic disorder, and had begun showing signs of neuromuscular damage over the past few months. His older brother had died at the age of 20 from this same disease. You, little boy, are beginning to stumble more and more frequently. I see you fall, your Mum lifts you back up, and still you smile.
In all of these shelters, a life force, almost palpable, was floating in the air. I was in admiration of the strength of these children, and of the devotion and kindliness of the volunteers I came across in these different centres.
Very often these children were lacking in many things, but their tissue seemed to cry out from the bottom of their hearts: “More love”.
In spite of this, these children took me by the hand, literally, and showed me where my rightful place was.
I was soon freed of any constraints regarding time, efficiency or judgment.
And so, my rightful presence allowed me to work more freely and powerfully. To listen to others in the silence of our doubts, our constraints and our obligations.
Remaining neutral in order to be fair, to be present, here and now, without judging, without expecting anything in return.
To Renaud and Stéphanie for their kindliness, to Anouck for her smile, to Raymond for his steadfastness, to Laura for her tenderness, to Cassiel and Manon for the humility with which they joined the vast world of osteopathy, to Florent for his inspiring wisdom, kindness and humility, to Amir and Annett for their zest for life within the thoroughness of their work, to Isabelle for our stormy, enriching exchanges, to Danith for his patience and ready availability, to Patrick for his radiance, to myself for this gift and to DOCOSTEOCAM for making it all possible; to all the volunteer workers for their hospitality, their action and their devotion that all contribute to making this a better world, to all these children with their laughter, their smiles and their shining eyes, reflecting the beauty of this world, the palms of my hands joined together, Orkurn.