Certificate Ceremony

Vannarith at First StepVarrarith at First Step

Tay Vannarith (middle) is the social worker at the Maryknoll Deaf Development Programme.  Since March he has been participating in a training program about the sexual abuse of boys.  Here he receives a certificate in a ceremony marking the end of the ten months of training.

Topics: Car Door Protectors–Part 2

Click here for the second part of the Topic on Car Door Protectors.

[I thought working with HTML (the language of websites) would be easy inside WordPress, but not so.  A lot of things that I am coding would work in straight HTML, but inside WordPress, many of them have no effect.  I’m going to have to do a lot of learning–or find someone who knows WordPress who can help me clean up this topics page.]

Money First, Buddha Second

Buddhist Center

This is the Buddhist Center, a very important place in Cambodian Buddhism.  When I first came I was told that there were to be no buildings put up nearby that would overshadow the center and compete with it for importance.  Well, there’s a lot of money to be made in Cambodia now, if you have money to begin with, and so the tycoons in the senate conveniently have arranged for the zoning guidelines to be ignored.

A Disappearing Part of the Culture

A cyclo

17 years ago, when I arrived in Phnom Penh, travel options were few.  Many people had bicycles. Some had motorcycles. Very few had cars.  And when you had to go to the market or some shop and had more than you could carry on a motorcycle, you hired a cyclo like the one pictured here.  They aren’t fast but they’re sure and steady and will get you home with all your goods.  But now with the advent of tuk-tuks and even more recently with the introduction of the auto rickshaws from India, the cyclos are disappearing. A few of the older women still use them for their daily trips to the market, and tourists will hire a convoy of cyclos to take them around the neighborhoods, but it seems the days of the cyclo are numbered.

The Bishop Visits

Bishop Olivier at St. Joseph Church

This past weekend Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, MEP, came to both our Saturday night liturgy at World Vision and our Sunday morning mass at St. Joseph Church.  It was good to have him with us as a reminder that the English-speaking community is part of the Church of Phnom Penh.  Here he gathers with our choir and musicians after mass on Sunday morning.

What is the Color of a Wat?

Red and white paint in a wat

Buddhist wats or temples tend to have muted yellows and browns as the primary colors of their buildings; nothing too dramatic.  But today, going past this wat on the riverfront, I was surprised to see the white and rather garish red colors that have appeared on the gateway arch and on some of the stupas in which famous monk leaders and other dignitaries are buried.  I’ve never seen anything like the white and red paint in a wat.  I’ll have to ask what it means although it could be something as plebeian as an undercoating to prepare for later more traditional coats of paint.