What is compassion? Is it sympathising with an article on the refugee crisis? Is it being knowledgeable on the implications of the Houston floods? What differentiates compassion in our approach to adversity? Compassion is about action, not words.
In the recent July holidays, a group of 20 Year 10 St Luke’s students travelled to rural Cambodia. The service trip aimed to allow students to learn from and work with some incredible Cambodians currently living under the poverty line. One of the projects undertaken was the construction of a house for a man who had tragically lost his leg in a landmine accident. The family consisted of the man and his wife, six children and three grandchildren. Their house consisted of a single room which had been rendered harsh to live in by decay. Finding work was a rare occurrence for this man, and even if he could, the nearest city was 75km away. If he did work, he would only bring home five dollars in one day.
Five dollars between eleven hungry mouths!
And yet what struck us was their attitude. You would think this family would be stricken with despair, but their smiles and enthusiasm for life left us inspired. The young grandchildren, and even older grandparents, insisted on helping us in whatever way they could.
As Year 10 student Finn Wilson said “This trip has completely changed my perception of the world, and has made me want to help those in poverty so much more. The people we met were always so happy, even though they have so little. I have realised how thankful I should be for everything that we have. I think that everybody should go on a trip like this at least once in their lives.”
It was a challenging week for the students. But for the people of Cambodia, this is their 'day-to-day' for their entire lives. It was at this house that compassion for those living in poverty was truly learnt.
Submitted by the St Luke's Student Media Team: Dexter Konijn, Vicki Patapas, Claudia Hayman, Finn Wilson, Jessica Bridgland and Joel Leifer.