Chum Riep Sua,
Well March madness is over, but it seems the madness has slipped into April as well. Somewhere in the juggling, jockeying and hoop jumping I hope you have found a chance to sit down or enjoy a little R and R.
The last few weeks over here we have been up to our gills in mud, salt and catfish of sorts. It was time for our annual fish-pond drain, which meant outdoor English classes for a couple days as we went into prohok (fermented fish) production. Here’s how it works. Step One: begin draining the pond and give the kids an ‘all clear’ to start netting, whacking, scooping, trapping and tackling fish. Step two: collect and deliver to the kitchen baskets and baskets full of all fish shapes and sizes. Step three: cut, clean and salt your fish. Step four: pack your salted gems in five-gallon ceramic jars for aging. Step five: wait a minimum of three months for curing, and then enjoy your fermented fish as a soup base, side dish, or main course fried with morning glory or the vegetable of your choice.
Roughly only ten percent of Cambodians have a refrigerator, so prohok and other cured or fermented foods are a staple in every kitchen. Prohok is a bit pungent, no surprise, and is definitely an acquired taste, but I’m beginning to enjoy it. And, nothing beats a good pickled watermelon rind.
Another aqua adventure that is getting started is our new Aquaponics program. Bob and Christal Hollandsworth who have also been here since 2007 are in the development and refining stage of this new micro-enterprise. Aquaponics is basically raising fish and plants together in a re-circulating ecosystem or tank, which converts fish wastes to plant nutrients. In other words, fish-pond water is used to grow vegetables. Limited space is needed for an aquaponics system to provide an abundance of fish and vegetables, which are two more staples in all Cambodian homes. Some of our Church Orphan Homes don’t have much land, or the conditions are not suited for gardens, so aquaponics may be the answer for supplementing food and income for these Homes. Go Bob and Christal!
Easter! Wow, what a day! Well… we had no Easter egg hunt, but it sure seems like we had everything else. The day had both a morning and an evening session and there was music, dancing, and skits, perfectly matched with our church serve, and followed by lunch for one and all. By all, I mean the more than 600 people who attended our celebration and who came in by truck, taxi, van, and on foot from all the surrounding towns and villages. The evening session had a unique music performance. I am NOT the most musically inclined, but the kids and I decide to work on an English song for this year’s celebration. We sang 10,000 reasons by Matt Redman and the kids did great. I only hummed along which was best for everybody.
EVT Program – Update
The girls sewed over 100 hundred bags last month. I almost couldn’t open the door to the sewing room. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but the fact that the bags were beautifully sewn and many of the girls have now saved enough for their first year of university is no exaggeration. They are excited!
Eli’s got teeth, two little ones on the bottom! And, she’s using them. There is a new three point sleeping stance added to her array of contorted sleeping positions. She is also driving now. We got her a sporty hot pink racer and she is regularly doing laps around the kitchen and balcony. She is particularly good at reverse. I think she also a budding environmentalist because she likes to point out the potted plants that need some extra water, or some weeds pulled. It’s a good thing as I don’t have the greenest of thumbs.
Naome is wrapping up her internship at the hospital and will be headed in to her final medical exams soon. Graduation is just around the corner. Woooo Hoooo…..
I need to wash and do some maintenance on our turtle, by that I mean our little red Hyundai. It’s in need of some t.l.c., which is totally understandable. It’s a car designed for putting around the city, but this guy has forded rivers, swam through flood waters, crossed rickety bamboo bridges, and driven thousands of kilometers down dusty, bumpy dirt roads. So, some care is on the way.
Thank you again for thinking of the Cambodia, the kids, and us. Hope you have a fun spring. We’ll save some prohok for you. Don’t worry it’s salted.