I had to return by myself to Phnom Penh from the DDP annual staff meeting rather than with the group. I took a bus service and we made a stop halfway through the trip. Each company has an arrangement with the restaurant or shop where they stop, to allow the drivers to eat for free, etc.
Yesterday I experimented with a collage of small mug shots of DDP staff. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted so I tried again today with another software. This one isn’t perfect but it’s better than yesterday’s attempt.
This is just a compilation of head-and-shoulder shots of a lot of our staff at the annual staff meeting in Kep Province. It was also a disappointing test of a “gallery” widget which groups photos. I was hoping it would not put them in even regular rows. Click here to see the results.
Today the schedule of activities was changed to move an awards ceremony and evaluation to the evening so the staff could go to the beach in the morning when the sun was out and there was no rain. Click here for pictures from the day.
Today was a full day of reports and activities geared toward a strong sense of DDP identity. We were planning a roasting of corn on the cob tonight, over at the playing field, but rain during supper scuttled that. Click here to see scenes from the day.
Today all the DDP staff headed south to Kep Province to Shalom Valley center for our annual staff meeting. The bus ride took about five hours with stops and problems with the mud. Click here to see the day.
Part of our celebration of International Deaf Week is our own Deaf Day activity at the DDP office grounds. We put up some tents for protection against sun and rain and our staff prepares a variety of activities for deaf people from all over. Click here to see some of the goings-on for the day.
Today the Disability Action Council, a section of the government’s Ministry of Social Affairs, had a Deaf Day celebration in connection with International Deaf Week that is observed around the world at the end of September.
The good points:  the speaker encouraged all the television stations to add a sign language interpreter on screen for their broadcasts;  he said only certified interpreters should be used.
The bad points:  on a day ostensibly to recognize and honor the deaf people, there was not one deaf person on the stage, just two rows of government officials;  deaf people need to sit near the front so they can readily see the sign language interpreter and catch the nuances of facial expression, etc., but the first four rows of the theater seats were filled with more government people and the deaf were moved towards the rear of the hall;  a speaker from the ministry stated that sign language is “universal,” meaning there is one sign language used every where (that’s not true);  the wording on the back of the purple T-shirts given to the participants said in Khmer “deaf and dumb.” Deaf people are not dumb and that phrasing is offensive to them.  At the end of the ceremony, the government officials and invited guests were taken downstairs for a reception with tea and coffee, fruits, cakes, etc., and provided with photo opportunities. The deaf people were kept upstairs in the auditorium and given a bottle of water and a box with a sandwich, croissant, and some fruit.
Last week we initiated a formal break time for the DDP staff who work in the main office in Phnom Penh. We hoped that getting all the staff together would build camaraderie, improve communications, and strengthen a team spirit. Things got going slowly last week, but today it clicked! This was the scene at our morning break when we had our teachers, interpreters, cleaners, guards, directors–everybody–together. We are fortunate that our “new” office building has this wonderful upstairs porch for a break area.