The sweetest thing

By Frances Micklow

I continue to be amazed by the hospitality extended to me by the people of Cambodia.

While visiting a village family who produces palm sugar, I felt as though I was welcomed into the house and trade as if I were a longtime friend.

After being offered a seat in the shade, I sat and played with the children as we listened to the process behind making palm sugar. The man of the house walked us through the entire process and even scaled a palm tree to bring us down a jug full of the milky, translucent liquid.

The children scurried to help at their mothers command. One got glasses and washed them in the well water. Another retrieved a green mesh strainer from somewhere in the back of the house. Yet another got a metal bowl. Then all aided their mother as she prepared the palm sugar juice for their visitors to drink.

The liquid was thin, sweet and refreshing. I looked up from my first sip and caught the wide eyes of one of the children. I smiled and nodded approvingly before enjoying another sip.

There were no suspicions or hesitations on the part of the family, they were simply showing me the same kindness and hospitality I have come to realize is characteristic of the Cambodian people.

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