Not little green apples….

Cambodians, especially the deaf youth, live a simple lifestyle that is closely linked to nature. Today there was excitement in the morning break when the students discovered two small green mangoes on a tree on our property–unfortunately too far out of reach for even our mango-picker poles.

I love mangoes but the idea of eating a hard, unripe green mango is yechy for me. Cambodians put some sort of salt or spices or something on the green mangoes and think it’s heavenly.

Caritas Climate Workshop 2

Today was Day 2 of the climate change strategy workshop. We had video presentations from speakers in Australia and India, and then the small groups went to work again.

This is the small group on climate and health giving a report on their group discussions and ideas.

Singapore Visitors

Today a group from the Singapore Wesley deaf program came to DDP for a visit. Half of them have been to DDP before and it was good to see them again, catch up on what’s happening, and do some planning for the future.

The Singapore group with the DDP management team.
The president of the Singapore group leading a prayer at the end.
A final shot as they prepared to leave and head for a workshop in Kampot.

Deaf Leadership Training

Colin Allen is leading a deaf leadership training program at the Deaf Development Programme, with a goal of establishing a national deaf association. Colin is away for two months now but the training continues, led by the team he prepared.

After 30 years….

Johnny Ng (R) is a deaf man from Singapore whom I have know for 30+ years. He met Sophors (L) and his wife Sreytin at a Catholic deaf meeting in Indonesia last year and they arranged for Johnny to visit Phnom Penh. Tonight after our mass, we went to dinner at a Chinese restaurant.

Musica Felice #12

Ms. Miwako Fujiwara is a professional pianist, composer, and musical organizer, and last weekend she presented her 12th charity concert at the Sofitel Hotel.

The theme for this concert was Europe Day and each of the selections came from one of the countries of the European Union.

Miwako always invites the staff of DDP to attend the concerts and usually some of our deaf staff are part of our group. They don’t always receive and appreciate the full musical experience but they enjoy meeting others and here they were enjoying some croissants and pastries at the break.

Deaf Leadership Training Program

The Finnish Association of the Deaf is a funder of the Caritas Deaf Development Programme, and they are giving priority to the development of a national association of the deaf for Cambodia. They have shifted funding to that and have engaged Colin Allen, a deaf organizations expert, to guide the establishment of an association.

Colin will train four deaf people in organizational knowledge and skills and then they will carry forward the actual erection of the deaf association. Today Colin had his first meeting with them and Sau Soknym, DDP director, began an orientation with them.

Khmer New Year

Probably two thirds or three fourths of Phnom Penh’s population leaves the city for the Khmer New Year celebrations which take place in the family home in the provinces. But the new year is also a time for foreigners to visit Cambodia and experience the special celebrations.

This year we were blessed by a return visit by Ronise Barreras who worked at DDP about fifteen years ago when we created a new job position. We wanted our students to have more than just an academic experience and Ronise came to help expose our students to new ideas and activities to broaden their understanding of the world and themselves.

Colin Allen (blue shirt) worked at DDP just before Ronise and they had met online but today was the first time we all met together in person along with Darren, Ronise’s husband. We had a delightful hour or two before I had to leave, catching up and just learning about each other’s lives fifteen or twenty years later.

Staff Training #3

The staff training concluded today with several exercises to enable the hearing staff to participate in activities led by deaf staff–using sign language but no interpreters. Deaf people routinely participate in hearing-led activities which they don’t full understand. Today the hearing people learned what it is like to participate without understanding all that is being said.

In this group a deaf man told a story and the hearing staff had to “listen” and then repeat it.
In another group, a deaf teacher showed how to make paper flowers.
Finally, before the staff from Kampong Cham Province had to leave, staff were invited to give their reflection and their learnings and understandings from the three days together.

Staff Training #2

Today was the second day of teacher training at the Deaf Development Programme. An on-going problem is communications between deaf staff and hearing staff. The deaf people complain that hearing staff do not use sign language and so the deaf are left out. There was an exercise today where three groups, each with deaf and hearing staff, worked to accomplish a goal.

Each group or team had to make a small vehicle from common items like plastic water bottles and then propel the car to the finish line. Here one team prepares to launch its car.
These two teams powered their cars with air from balloons.
After the competition, Thuch Sophy and Julie Lawler helped the groups talk about how they worked with each other.