Rest Stop….I’ll pass

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.

The place where our bus stopped for a rest break was a real dive. It is out in the middle of nowhere and has nothing attractive. It was late evening when we arrived and the bus driver left the headlights on to shine into the eating area so we could see. (The picture looks lighter but it was really dark inside.
Most such rest stops allow passengers to choose food from a menu, to be cooked on the spot. This place had five or six large pots of food probably cooked early in the morning.
This is the little “convenience store” which all these places have. It was stacked with trash and covered with a layer of dust. The toilets were to the left of this shack and were unlit and absolutely dark when we were there.
There was no selection in this “store” that would entice anyone. Everything there looked like it had been there for months. I had some cookies with me so I just bought a Coke from the orange coolers on the left, figuring that would be safe.

Collage (second attempt)

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.

Deaf Day at DDP

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.

Deaf Day at DAC

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: [1] the speaker encouraged all the television stations to add a sign language interpreter on screen for their broadcasts; [2] he said only certified interpreters should be used.

The bad points: [1] 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; [2] 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; [3] a speaker from the ministry stated that sign language is “universal,” meaning there is one sign language used every where (that’s not true); [4] 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. [5] 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.

Time for a break…

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.

Shalom Valley Center

Today our DDP program manager and I went south to Kep Province to take a look at a new facility called Shalom Valley. It’s connected with a church and offers a large space and accommodations for retreat groups and other activities. We are thinking of taking our DDP staff there for our annual staff meeting.