A Cat in the House

Last Monday morning I left my house at 5:50 AM to go mass with the Salesian Sisters across town. When I came back at 7:50 AM and went to take my vitamin pill, I found dirty spots on the toilet bowl. Some of them looked like paw prints. I found that exceeding strange. I live alone. The house was locked up. I don’t have a cat or any other pet–although the geckos are free to come and go.

I figured it had to be an animal and because there were paw prints inside the toilet bowl, I surmised that it must have climbed up on the toilet and down inside it to get a drink. But what kind of animal and how did something that big get in the house?
I thought about this all day…and then coming home in the evening, it occurred to me that there IS an opening into my living space, at the top of a blocked stairway leading from my second floor room to a third floor where some indigenous students from the provinces live. The house is four floors tall, built for a single family, with internal stairways leading from floor to floor. The landlord, though, has blocked off the stairway leading from my second floor to the third floor. That is the covering with metal grill at the top of the stairs. I use the blocked stair steps for storing old suitcases that I may need when I haul stuff back to the United States.

But the covering over the stairwell is poorly done and there is a six-inch space between the top of the highest step and the cover. It’s plenty big for a cat-size animal to get through. I didn’t think the students had a cat, though, but then the next morning I found a large cat at the foot of these stairs and when I yelled at it, it jumped on the suitcases and scurried back upstairs.

The weather was about 100ºF that Monday and I’m guessing that while the students were out, the cat went looking for a drink of water and found my toilet.

Khmer New Year Celebration

Today was the last day for the deaf students to be together at DDP before heading home for their new year break tomorrow.

Dancing is a really big part of Khmer culture and the deaf youth love to dance also, even if they can’t always hear the extra loud music that is playing.
Then they had the chance to eat the special curry meal they prepared yesterday. It was quite good!
The best part of being at DDP, though, is just being part of a community, having friends, and just feeling that you belong to something.

Khmer New Year prep

The Khmer New Year will be April 13, 14, and 15, but because our students will go home for a long holiday, they will celebrate the DDP new year tomorrow. Today students pitched in to prepare vegetables for the special dishes to be enjoyed tomorrow!

Aesthetics–not yet

Cambodia likes to promote itself as an emerging mid-level income country rather than a least developed country, but the indications of development here are to a large degree a facade or veneer. Not much has changed for most of the country although the cities seem to bustle. In this environment, survival still takes precedence over artistic and cultural skills and values. If it works is much more important than how it looks.

An example of this is the wi-fi installation in the main corridor of our new building. The router, power supply, splitters, and the cables are all out in public view rather than hidden away or covered.

Another Farewell

Sr. Regina Pellicore is leaving Cambodia tomorrow to return to the United States. Frequently she has attended morning mass with the Missionaries of Charity at their orphanage, and today we took some pictures to remember her last time there.

It’s coming along….

On the Easter weekend, the new church being constructed at St. Joseph Parish was opened to allow a few people to see the interior.

The main stairway leading up to the front doors opens into back portion of the nave of the church which has a lower ceiling to allow for offices and meeting rooms above.

Then the back half of the nave opens up to a high ceiling. The building is large but the seating will not be much greater than what is presently available in the hall in another building that is currently used for Sunday liturgies.

Next Year in New York

Things were really busy tonight when we were setting up for the Easter Vigil at the DK Meeting Centre in Phnom Penh. I didn’t get a chance to arrange for someone to take photos but after the service was over, we got this photo of Julie Lawler and me and Regina Pellicore getting ready to leave after her last Easter Vigil in Cambodia.

The Triduum

In Holy Week, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are known as the Triduum (“three days” in Latin). These ceremonies tell the story of our salvation and are the high point of the church’s liturgical year.

Holy Thursday
The washing of feet in imitation of Jesus’ loving service.
The procession with the eucharist to the altar of repose at the end of the service.
Good Friday
Fr. Pedro presiding during the liturgy of the word.
The veneration of the cross of Jesus.

Saying Farewell

Sr. Regina came to DDP this morning to say goodbye to the staff she has worked with over the years.

DDP director Soknym spoke of his working with Regina.
These are the four Maryknollers associated now with DDP: Charlie, Regina, Naa (a former guard at the Maryknoll office, now at DDP), and Julie.

Wednesday Gathering

We stopped our Wednesday gatherings of Maryknoll Cambodia when we closed the NGO, but many of us decided to continue to meet and tonight we had a gathering of nine of us who try to meet every week. Most of us were part of Maryknoll but we have others who are lay missioners on their own or with another group.

Our group meets in the home of our gracious hosts, Maria and Kila.
This was Sr. Regina’s last time to meet with us before she returns to the United States and we also wanted to remember Maria’s birthday so added a cake to the evening.