General Update Sunday 1/10 through Tuesday 1/12

Suuisthii! That’s hello in Khmer (sounds like kuh-MII).

So. Today, we went to visit an NGO called DAIL which serves the kids who live on the houseboats on the Tonle Sap in the morning and visited the Friend Without Borders pediatric hospital in the afternoon, and then ate dinner at a buffet with our BGU friends.

Yesterday and the day before were spent the same way: teaching/teacher aiding nine adorable five-year-olds and helping to paint a bamboo schoolhouse.

The day before that (the tenth), was the day we went to church and went to Tonle Sap for the sunset amid cries of “One Dolla”. So I’ll start with that. There are gazzillions of motor boats which take tourists around Tonle Sap to see the floating villages, and we were on one of them. People there live in these wonderfully creative houseboats, which include everything from floating vegetable gardens to TVs. They are wooden and bamboo, plain or colorful, and they are beautiful. Families in small motorized canoes pull up beside the boat, and the littlest kids hop nimbly out to sell a bucket of refreshments – what service! … I wonder if they eat enough. There are definately poor and rich among them, judging from the different decor of houses, and the presence or absence of electric lighting after sundown. There was a floating church that we saw.

According to some study that someone did once, the people who live in the floating villages are happier than the average person. But I wonder at the life expectancy for those living in polluted waters that flow out of China and Thailand. I also wonder at the weirdness of seeing these people, then eating dinner at the Blue Pumpkin, an air-conditoned, up-scale restaurant which looks like a Mac store.

Moving on to Monday and Tuesday… Khmer kids remind me of the Mexican kids I met on my two high school youth group mission trips. They are absolutely beautiful – brown eyes, dark lashes, golden-brown skin, smiles! It was also really interesting to watch the group dynamics. Even in a class of nine, there was one kid who was miles ahead of the others, and a few who were way behind. Teachers must be amazing people to deal with that, especially in classes of twenty or more!

Even better than the kids was painting with the BGU prep school students. They speak English very well, though there is still a fairly large language barrier. But it’s amazing to see how even that barrier is nothing because we are family in Christ. They actually call us and each other “brother” and “sister” – I love it!

By “painting” I mean erecting and climbing rusty-but-sound scaffolding to stand on ten-inch-wide boards about 1 1/2 to 2 stories above the ground. Don’t worry – we’re all done painting, and I’m still alive. It was so much fun!!!! Plus, we got to talk with the BGU students and help them practice their English, teaching words such as “paint”, “stuck,” and “drip.”

So… other people are waiting for computers. Thus… I have to go. I’ll write again asap to tell about today. Tomorrow, we are going to Phnom Pehn!

Amanda Hayes


2 comments so far

  1. Ann DeRooy on

    Life isn’t fair. Do not forget what you have seen.

  2. Ann DeRooy on

    HD Premiere of NOOMA Corner | 023 Rob Bell | Flannel Player

    Try this. I’m not sure the last one was correct.

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