A gift in gratitude

At our weekly Wednesday meeting today, Fr. Kevin Conroy showed off a new vestment he was given in gratitude by a family with a mentally ill elder.  The man had been acting out, sometimes violently, but when Fr. Kevin–who runs the Maryknoll Mental Health Program–came to see him, Kevin was able to reduce the man’s agitation and help the family find a new peacefulness.

Lightning Peril

Most people, thinking of dangers in Cambodia, immediately suggest landmines and other ERW (Explosive Remnants of War).  And the landmines are a threat.  We average a casualty every three to four days–40 years after most of the mines were put down.

Another very big and on-going menace, though, is lightning.  We’re in week 21 of this year and already 51 people have been killed by lightning.  That’s more than two a week.  In addition 40 others were injured, and 53 cows and buffalo were killed.  Much of Cambodian life is lived outdoors.  Rain or no rain, in the warm climate, the farming goes on and the children keep playing, and the lightning keeps striking.

Running Scared: Cambodia’s Government

Two major election-monitoring organizations have just announced that they will not monitor the upcoming national elections in July.  They monitored the elections for commune (groups of villages) officials last year and were condemned by the prime minister with accusations of being “rebels”or of fomenting “color revolutions.” Color revolutions are the government’s buzzword for anyone who has the audacity to be in opposition to the government.  It’s similar to Trump’s use of “fake news.” If you’re opposed to the ruling party in the US, it’s fake news; in Cambodia, you’re part of a color revolution.  Now the election volunteers fear government reprisals, a well-founded fear as radio stations are closed and people reporting on politics are imprisoned.