As an intern and volunteer for Nomi Network, meeting the namesake of our organization was of course a big deal! About a week ago, president Diana and I headed out to the Cambodian countryside to meet Nomi and her friends at their home. As we rode our Tuk Tuk on the bumpy roads, Nomi's caretakers told us how excited she was to see us, especially Diana who visits every year.
I was a bit concerned that I, as a stranger, would scare them away. I didn't have to worry, when we came to the shelter, the first thing I got was a big hug! The girls were laughing and eying us curiously. I could tell they knew Diana from before, they were all over her!
One girl in the back was a bit more quiet with very intelligent eyes. When she finally came to say hello, she hugged us both and prayed a little prayer from her heart. I can still remember the feeling of her arms around me.
Nomi was a very happy and energetic girl, she was so much more grown up than I expected! We showed our Nomi totes to her and said, "this is named after you!" If she fully understood what we meant, I don't know. I would also have a hard time grasping it if someone told me they've named a whole organization after me!
One of the house mothers also came to greet us, she didn't speak English but her big smile said it all. The supervisors told us that many of the women who start out as security guards end up as house mothers because they like spending time with the girls so much.
The shelter was a lovely, colorful place with swings, a chicken farm, and even a puppy! It truly feels like a place for healing and moving forward, perfect for the amazing girls that live there. I felt very humbled and privileged meeting them, and it only made me more determined to continue my work for Nomi Network!