Everyday this week the temperature has been 90º to 95ºF. That’s hot. But look at these women motorcyclists on the street today. They all have jackets with hoods–and the hoods are up, under their helmets. And three out of four are wearing gloves.
Of course, none of that is about heat. The jackets, long sleeves, and gloves are to keep the sun off their skin. Who wants to have dark skin?
Today is the summer solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. The weather is really hot in many countries this year because of climate change, and it’s certainly hot here in Phnom Penh. One enterprising vendor is taking advantage of that, offering all sizes, shapes, and colors of inflatable pools. From what I have seen around town, business has been good for him!
Rats are very much a part of life here in Phnom Penh. The local people see them as something to live with but the foreigners try to eliminate them. Click here for some pictures about rats at the Maryknoll office.
One of the things the Catholic Church can do in a mission context is take the lead when new situations are encountered or society gains a new awareness. Such an area in Cambodia is autism. So much is being written about autism in the US and there are so many programs set up to work with children with autism. It’s a rather new issue in Cambodia—the awareness of autism, not children with autism who have always been there.
Many of the Catholic parishes now have programs to help children with autism and their parents, and today at the quarterly meeting of the Catholic Alliance for Charity and Development, a subgroup working on disabilities discussed an upcoming program to be presented by an experienced practitioner from Australia.
Cambodians, especially in the rural areas, are a rather superstitious lot. Their world is full of spirits good and bad and there are certain omens and charms to be called upon. Some of these ideas come from the Chinese. Often the number 168 is displayed in shops and situations calling for good luck and good fortune. This practice comes from the Cantonese language. If the numbers one, six, eight are pronounced in Cantonese, they sound like the sentence “One path to prosperity” so the number is posted quite prominently on vehicles, buildings, etc.
Most of the time my photos of wagons and carts and motos show them full of food to sell or goods to be carried. Here is a guy at the end of the day with just a few cabbages left on his wagon. I hope he sold all the rest and he feels good going home to his family.