Hope all is good. We are right around the corner from flip-flops and beach towels, or mountain hikes and hammocks. Well… I’m hoping that you’ve got some plans in the works anyway. Somehow in Cambodia it’s always flip-flops, whether for the heat or wading through the flooded streets. And hammocks are like a Swiss Army knife accessory, they just sort of unfold out of your pocket whenever necessary.
May was filled with volume and variety. We had a family reunion and memorial, smoking sewing machines, a big bag sell out, campaigning caravans, and a national election.
Naome’s uncle, aunt, cousin and ‘cousin-in-law’ were here from New Zealand for a month-long visit. Naome hadn’t seen her uncle and aunt for four years and she’d never met her cousin. So, it was fun getting to know them. We had four days together in Kampong Thom, Naome’s hometown, where they held a memorial service for the third anniversary of her grandfather’s passing. By the way, there is no easy read on a family tree in Cambodia because every one of the 400 plus people I was introduced to was a cousin of sorts. Anyway, it was the best kind of family reunion/memorial. There were a few tears, but it was mostly smiles, laughs, old stories, good food, and lots of dancing. Speaking of food; have you ever tried duck tongue? Now, I have. Not bad, definitely a finger food and not a main-course, something like a french fry with a little cartilage.
Just for reference, most families in Phnom Penh or other larger Cambodian cities have three to five kids while families in the countryside average ten to twelve. So, it’s more of a family forest than a family tree.
Off to the races; May saw a very busy sewing room. Charvy, Theary, Channy, Lida, and Karona completed more than sixty bags in three weeks, which included learning two new styles, creating patterns, cutting, sewing, and putting on the final touches. We were filling an order for our friends at Foursquare Missions Press who wanted to bring them to the national conference. Their concept is that for every bag they sell, they will give away a bag packed full of education and daily essentials to a child in need. We’re happy to say they sold out of all the bags, and we’re working on a follow up order. Thank you Sarah and Phil. And, thank you Sam for being our sherpa, and muscling all our bags to Phoenix.
May 18th was Naome’s birthday so the month gave us another reason to celebrate. We had a little day out and also a spring roll party on our balcony with some close friends. I think seeing the cake gave Eli a little excitement for September, and her first birthday.
The month wrapped up with parades here, there and everywhere; up this street and down that one. Trucks were packed with drums, dancers, loud speakers, and general hoopla. The CPP (Cambodian People’s Party) was the main show in town, and whether people are even aware of other 20 plus political parties it seems the CPP carries the ‘go-with-the-flow vote’. So last weekend, the very smooth, and well-organized elections were completed. Each person showing they had made their vote by sporting their vibrant purple index finger.
I think Eli is learning her alphabet by sleeping in the shape of each letter. It’s not so bad when she’s working on ‘I’ and ‘L’. But, she seems to practice a lot with ‘X’ and ‘K’. Then she uses Naome and me for the sides on her capital ‘H’ as she plays the perpendicular piece between us. I know there are debated pros and cons for having your baby sleep in bed with you, but right now I have to say it’s 99% pro. I work with the alphabet everyday too.
Naome is done with school and passed her last finals with flying colors getting A’s and B’s in all her classes from virology and immunopathology to hematology clinical bacteriology as well as a few other ‘ologies’. Now, she will go on to spend some time in an internship and work on a thesis. Wooo hooo….
So, the flip-flops are moving along, and God’s doing good things. Thank you for your friendship, emails, and prayers.