Today I started a three-week trip to the US and Taiwan for meetings with Maryknoll. Click here to see some pictures from the beginning of the journey.
This is the record of a trip to the United States and Taiwan for Maryknoll meetings. The first part of the USA trip was a visit to my family in Kentucky.
- Tuesday (October 9)—Travel: Phnom Penh to New York City
- Wednesday (October 10)—Travel: NYC to Louisville
- Thursday (October 11)—Kentucky
- Friday (October 12)—Kentucky
- Saturday (October 13)—Kentucky
- Sunday (October 14)—Kentucky
- Monday (October 15)—Kentucky
- Tuesday (October 16)—Kentucky
- Wednesday (October 17)—Travel: Louisville to New York
Much more to come….
Wow, this is the longest I have ever gone without being able to post something here on the website. Sorry! It’s been a combination of travel schedules, busy times when I needed to be at places here in Kentucky, and attention to work that has followed me from Cambodia that has kept me offline. I hope tomorrow, Saturday (it’s 10:41 PM Friday night here in Kentucky as I write) will allow me to start posting about this trip.
I am sorry for the missed post yesterday. I was swamped with stuff as I prepared to leave. I’m heading to the airport in twenty minutes to go to the US for meetings. From there I go to more meetings in Taiwan before returning to Phnom Penh on 30 October. I arrive in New York Wednesday night and hope to be able to post then.
October 8-10 are the three public holidays of this year’s Pchum Ben festival, a traditional religious occasion when people honor their ancestors, particularly by making offerings of rice balls in the pagodas. Click here for some photos from the beginning of the holiday period.
Many jurisdictions require hands-free arrangements if a driver wants to use a phone while behind the wheel. That’s probably better than holding a phone and talking while driving although the distraction factor is still here. In Cambodia not that many people have cars but they do have lots of motorcycles and they do want to talk while driving those. This is one method, sticking the phone under the helmet next to your ear.
Headlines and news reports from United States media frequently make reference to the campaign to raise the minimum wage in the U.S. to $15 an hour. The minimum wage is also a matter for discussion in Cambodia but here the goal of organized labor is a minimum wage of $182 PER MONTH. The current wage norm here is $170 per month, raised before last July’s elections in order to get the garment industry workers to support the ruling party.
Tens of thousands of garment factory workers–usually young women–ride to work each day jammed, standing up, in the back of open trucks. Many of them are killed in the frequent accidents when trucks overturn and collide from speeding and throw bodies everywhere. The government’s response? “Training” drivers to obey the law and “urging” them to get driver’s licenses. That’s a neat idea.
Cambodia now is celebrating a two-week Pchum Ben festival, the Khmer equivalent of All Souls Day in western Christian cultures. During this time the Cambodian people pay special attention and respect to their deceased ancestors. Next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are the three public holidays associated with Pchum Ben, but today was the last day of class for our students who must travel to the provinces to be with their families. We allow them to go early because the transportation companies all raise their prices tremendously starting the two or three days before the public holiday. To celebrate the festival at DDP, the students cooked a traditional Khmer meal at school and invited us the staff to eat with them.
Today Keat Sokly (standing) and I, as co-directors of the Deaf Development Programme, went to Kampot Province to our center there. Our unhappy task was to explain to the staff there that our project in Kampot will be reduced in size in 2019 because of budget cuts by funders and some of the staff will lose their jobs.