by Annabella Kadavanich
Photos: Omer Maayan
In a world full of possibilities, creating a better future is not a distant dream; it is a responsibility shared by us all. The magic lies in the fact that each and every one of us holds the power to make a difference starting right now. In this article, we set out on a journey of self-discovery, exploring how anyone and everybody can individually contribute to a brighter tomorrow and, equally important, how we may support the next generation, ensuring a lasting legacy through the transformative power of education.
Rich Hearts of Cambodia: Embracing Happiness in Simplicity
As I invite you on a magical journey to a land where time dances to the rhythm of simplicity, I hope that this story serves you as a reminder of your potential to bring positive change in the future. In the heart of Cambodia, where the sun casts a golden glow over the landscape, a touching tale of how to find true happiness unveils. In a remote village near Phnom Penh, young children go on a long journey every day, walking 10 kilometers to reach their school. These kids must face the harsh truth that their families lack the resources to enjoy the luxury of a tasty breakfast at home. Therefore, they stop along the way to skilfully climb mango trees so they can have a quick and filling meal before school.
During the summer months, many of them decide to skip school in order to assist their parents with the difficult but necessary chore of harvesting rice, giving up the opportunity of a better future for themselves. Some people might assume that these families don’t have a lot of wealth. But the truth runs deeper, and their richness lies in the depths of their hearts.
For these Cambodian children and their family, life is an exercise in finding happiness and fulfillment in even the most simple conditions. They understand that true happiness is not related to the abundance of material possessions, but comes from a profound connection with the land, the community, and the bond they share with one another. They are filled with gratitude for all the little wonders life gives them each day.
During my time in Cambodia, the volunteers loved gathering alongside the children under the vast canvas of stars. Laughter and stories filled the air, filling the night with the kind of warmth that money cannot buy. I remember the children’s eyes sparkling with hope, and their spirits dancing with dreams, embracing life’s challenges with unwavering strength and a magical belief in the beauty of simplicity.
In the stillness of twilight, they lay their heads on beds of dreams, knowing that despite the challenges they face, they are rich beyond measure in the wealth that truly matters – the wealth of love, compassion, and a happiness that radiates from within.
“Happiness is the foundation upon which we build the most beautiful future.” – James Allan
In Cambodia’s embrace, we learn an invaluable lesson, that true riches lie not in the grandeur of possessions, but in the richness of our heart. And as the sun rises on another day, may we carry this wisdom with us, cherishing the little moments, finding joy in simplicity, and recognizing that during the journey of life, true happiness blooms within us all.
So how can we create a better future?
In the attempt of building a better tomorrow, we recognize the complexity of this question, acknowledging that there is no singular answer.
While you are in the pursuit of a brighter tomorrow for our world, it’s important to recognize that creating a better future begins with the simplest of steps we take today. Take a moment to appreciate the small blessings in your life – the morning breakfast, the abundance of groceries in your fridge, the privilege of education. Instead of becoming entangled by materialism, get off your phone and focus on building genuine connections with those around you.
Above all, I encourage you not to simply read these words and let them fade into the background. The time for action is now, today. Within each of us resides the power to shape an extraordinary future, and it all begins with finding inner happiness. As you unlock this inner radiance, you’ll become a lighthouse, guiding the way towards a profoundly magnificent tomorrow. So, let these words be your catalyst for meaningful change, and let us embark on this journey together, towards a brighter future we create with every step we take.
Annabella is a former Fulbright scholar from Germany who is currently living her dream life in Orlando, Florida. Her diverse experiences include three months of dedicated volunteering at an orphanage in Cambodia, and she is passionate about sharing the heartwarming memories of that journey with the world.
For more FRANKly articles from our 2023 magazine, look here!