Same old, same old…

Today I went to Syphal’s Beautiful Shoes near the Maryknoll office to order a new pair of shoes. I’ve been going there for 18 or 19 years and have always bought the same shoe design each time I’ve been back. When I first went there in the early 2000s, a pair of handmade shoes was $18. Now five or six pairs (maybe more?) later, it’s up to $38. I can pick them up in five days.

When online learning doesn’t work…

The government closed Cambodian schools on March 16 and declared learning would continue online. In a country where a large portion of the population doesn’t have electricity, that is a major challenge, not to mention the lack of smartphones. In the Boeung Tum Pun area, where the Maryknoll Sisters work, they are developing some workarounds, some work-at-home packets to keep the youngest kids engaged and connected to school during this l-o-n-g hiatus. Here a couple staff prepare colored pencils for the packets, colored pencils being maybe THE essential item for younger kids.

A Little Hideaway

Riding along the streets of Phnom Penh, one is confronted by high walls and gates of compounds that just reflect a frightened urban mentality. Go through some of those gates, though, and one is in another world, such as this compound where some famous sisters live. It could not be more secluded although it’s right by the royal palace and the prime minister’s house. Going to the sisters’ house in the dark, one could almost expect the Death Eaters to emerge.

COVID-19 Notes

When the pandemic started and we had the first cases of infection in Cambodia, all the schools (top photo) and the church put sinks in accessible places so people could wash their hands.

Now, because Cambodia hasn’t had a new infection since April 12th–and no deaths–the sinks aren’t used that much. And the bottom photo shows that people are not using masks or maintaining physical distance either.

Cambodia could really be setting itself up for a terrible second wave of infections.