Oct. 2009

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Arun Sua s’dei,


Now, you may not be asking the same question back home, but a couple days ago I asked Mak Soki our provider of all things wonderful from the kitchen and our encyclopedia-like resource for all things cambodian; “Why do we have so many more ‘stealthy’ mosquitoes this year?” Her answer came back, “The winds are from the North.” I don’t know maybe there are more mosquitoes in Lao and they just get blown this way on the odd year. Anyway, I’m trying to teach them to bite in more creative patterns or at least in more convenient spots for scratching.


Not only did October bring more mosquitoes, but out of the north and east came very heavy rains from the numerous typhoons that hit both the Philippines and Vietnam. Here in the provinces we had bridges down, rivers overflowing, and whole towns literally flooded to waist level. The kids and staff in several of our Homes were evacuated until the waters receded. In our Kampot Home, the kids were ferried out in small paddle boats by local police and slept in the station for several days. Unfortunately, with how quickly it all happened there was no time to grab extra clothing, food, or equipment such as generators and music instruments. So, we are working to get those items replaced and their lives back to normal. On the upside, everyone is safe and of course the kids see yet another opportunity to get creative and invent new games to play. This maybe be Southeast Asia’s version of a ‘snow day’. You can read the story in the Cambodian Daily and see pictures of our Homes here: http://www.missionreports.com/typhoon_ketsana_cambodia/


The month also had pre-school, planes, parties, and puppies. October started our new school year. The kids were back to their dawn-to-dusk public school routines and we kicked off our evening English schedule. There is definitely a fun competition for noise volume as Sophoan, our pre-school and elementary school English teacher has her classes going in the library side-by-side with mine in the school. I think the little kids are winning. Sophoan is making full use of the library resources in that along with teaching speaking, she is also teaching reading, story telling, and art. It’s no wonder the kids are loud and excited.


From the 14th to the 17th, seven of us from Cambodia headed down to Singapore for a conference with friends from all over Southeast Asia as well as a special guest from Africa. Landing in Singapore is like setting down in a well manicured botanical garden, every tree is trimmed and every lawn edged. It’s beautiful. But maybe the bigger shock factor for me was seeing people stopped at stop lights and actually driving only on their designated side of the road. Wow, does that really happen?! The conference was a follow up to our March conference in Bangkok with Beth Barone. It’s a lot to put into words, but we discussed the workings of our intellect, emotions and will within our soul. And how personal pride and selfishness are what consistently lead us down the wrong road or cause the potholes in our relationships. Each day was packed and powerful, and wrapped up with me enjoying as well as needing a bit of a quiet walk under those well groomed Singapore trees.


On Sunday the 18th, two friends from the Mustard Seed Foundation were here in Phnom Penh and I had the opportunity to show them around our Center in Chom Chao. The prayer is that they will be helping us with some funding for new computers. The computers give the kids a chance to further improve their English, and learn software programs such as Word, Excel, and Photoshop, which puts them on a more level playing field educationally and professionally, but more importantly the kids can begin to break the feeling of being marginalized, forgotten, left out; the computers help to provide that additional encouragement to strive for and believe that their future goals are attainable.


Two hand decorated and written cards, flowers, soybean juice, a necklace and lots of singing were how the kids rang in my birthday this year. It worked! You know if you practice; “How old are you?” and “When is your birthday?” often enough the kids are quick to get your hint. It was a very fun day; the kids make every event special one way or another. And this birthday was great both one way AND another. Oh I didn’t mention the cake. Well… cake here comes with a five to six inch layer of technicolor frosting; not so much for the beauty, but that it is perfect for flinging, flicking and smearing. Yes, we all went home outlined and colored in.


What’s up with the EVT (English and Vocational Training) program:

Well, I broke out the camera and took lots of photos, but I don’t think I’d make it in the world of professional photographers. Anyway, hope you can get an idea of the designs and work the girls are doing. And I’m excited to bring home a suitcase full of their creations. The accent materials used are either hand-woven traditional Khromas (scarves) or hilltride cloth from Rattanakiri Province. These materials are one of a kind which means that we are only able to produce ten to fifteen bags with that particular woven design. We are also working on a new line with solid materials we can purchase in large quantities. Each bag will then have a hand stitched traditional Angkor (Cambodian) design. This line we will be able to produce in larger numbers but over a slightly longer time due to the detailed hand work.


Shoulder bag/messenger bag:

1. Small: 10” wide by 8” high – $12.00

2. Medium: 12” wide by 10” high – $15.00

3. Large: 15”wide by 12” high – $20.00


Hand bags: 15”wide by 12” high – $12.00

Placemats: Set of four – $10.00

Dishtowel Doll: – $15.00


Kids’ Library:

Check out the pictures of Sophoan’s kids letting their imaginations run and their creativity flow from pencil to paper. The library is a busy place.



Things learned:

1. You can never have enough puppies … well….except when you already have eight or ten


2. Since last month I have moved upstairs AND my two blue and orange foot-long geckos have

decided they like the view as well. They moved into my room last week and made their

presents known by reclining square in the middle of my bed.

3. Mosquitoes come when the north wind blows.



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