This Christmas, Santa was a missing presence. They actually don’t celebrate the same holidays you do in the rest of the world. Chosen moments from our Christmas Day include: bikes, motorbikes, tuk-tuks, Christmas lights by the water, Angkor Wat, dusty roads, frog, hungry kids, missing my mom, packs of wild dogs and monkeys, margarita’s and the trashiest drag queens you’ve ever seen. Ever. Jolly St. Nick failed to make an appearance. Nevertheless, the Christmas spirit still found a way inside me. I can’t seem to get our visit to the Lighthouse Orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia out of my head. I all too quickly found place in my heart for many pairs of tiny brown eyes. What is the real answer to helping all these children without homes? B. and I made the choice not to give money to children who are begging. Instead we offer to buy them a meal or share some of the fresh fruit we have with us. I’m actually really sick of seeing hungry kids. A certain detachment has set in for my own protection but what bothers me most, is the lack of security these kids feel at such a young age. Kind hearted, old little souls who won’t score some food or a drink without sharing first with friends and siblings. (The little boy in B.’s blog about Angkor Wat was the one exception to this rule.) The children at Lighthouse were affectionate and eager to take your hand, show you how to play a game, or speak to you in the various languages they knew. I wish adoption was popular. I wish there was more balance in the world. Why do some have so much while so many survive on hardly anything? Everybody deserves a roof over their head and a full belly. No frills necessarily, just the essentials. Satisfying the most basic needs, because it is exactly these needs that make us all human beings.