USA Trip 2022

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Today was a day for visiting people around the larger Maryknoll campus, on the grounds of the priests and brothers, then the sisters, and then the lay missioners.

Sr. Luise Ahrens was in Cambodia for many years and is now in service at the Sisters Center in Ossining. She is recovering from a broken arm.
A bird feeder on the grounds of the Sisters Center.
Ted Miles, executive director, and Lupe Garcia, administrative assistant, at the Walsh Building, the home of the Maryknoll Lay Missioners.
A view of the old seminary building, with the chapel wing on the left.

The main seminary building occupants have just endured two weeks of Covid restrictions after a surge of infections. Those restrictions were lifted three days ago but one returning Maryknoll priest tested positive and is isolated in his room.


I just spent several hours online trying to complete some paperwork for Maryknoll. It took a LOT longer than expected and now it is really late and I need to get up early. I’ll be back tomorrow! Sorry!

Hospital Day 9

There wasn’t supposed to be a Hospital Day 9 on this trip, but on Day 2, during the routine physical examination, a tumor was discovered on my kidney and the doctors decided they needed to remove it. That final decision was on Thursday and they wanted to schedule the operation for Friday but the operating room was not available. It was then decided to operate on Saturday but then the Bangkok blood bank had no A-negative blood that I needed. It took them two days to find it and finally we were able to have surgery Saturday morning.

This picture is of me is in ICU after the operation. I really never felt terribly bad and mostly only had pain when I made large movements like sitting down or getting up. All in all it has gone very well.

What is his story?

This young man is selling bags of various fruits from a modified motorcycle. From here the red fruits look like apples but they are not.

I often wonder if this is one of the “desperation” jobs in the informal economy. It could be that the young man’s family owns some land with fruit trees and the family kids hit the streets with fruit every day. More likely is that he can’t find a steady job so he rents the motorcycle from the fruit orchard and gets a cut of whatever he can sell during the day. How long will he do that? Just one day? One week? One month? Would anyone keep at it for longer than that, earning a dollar or two a day?


I had the photos and text ready to post last night but then I got distracted by numerous calls and messages from people seeking help from the St. Vincent de Paul Society of the church and I completely forgot about posting when I finished with all the messages.

Post-Lockdown Day 1 (May 6)

Last night at midnight, the government redrew the yellow, orange, and red zones that indicate the levels of Covid-19 infection within Phnom Penh. The Maryknoll office (arrow) was in an organge zone but now is yellow which allows fewer restrictions on activities.

Recent Developments

  • The revision of the color zones was good news for most people and only a few got the bad news of becoming a red zone. There seemed to be fewer snafus than usual in people’s moving around today.
  • Our DDP program manager was able to talk his way out of his home’s red zone and get to the DDP office along with our accountant. Together they were able to prepare the authorization papers to allow the banks to direct deposit the April salaries of the DDP staff.

Lockdown Day 16

The Covid-19 situation in Cambodia, and especially in Phnom Penh, changes by the hour. More areas of the city have been designated as Red Zones with very strict control of movements.

Recent Developments

  • After more than two weeks of lockdown, infection numbers and new cases are still at their highest levels.
  • The army was mobilized today to vaccinate everyone in the Red Zones and then everyone in Phnom Penh.
  • Large numbers of hungry people have protested on the streets about lack of food. The government says the protests are political.
  • The period from May 6 to June 18 was announced as the time when all those who are receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine will receive their second dose.