Christmas in Cambodia 2005

Christmas Day, 2005

Cambodia is about 95% Buddhist so Christmas is not a big celebration here. Actually most Cambodians wouldn't be able to tell you what Christmas is all about although from the increasing commercialization they are getting the idea it's a time to buy gifts for another. Here are some photos from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Phnom Penh.

Christmas Eve mass Christmas Eve mass at 5:00 PM was the only liturgy for Christmas for the English-speaking Catholic community.  The service was held in the large auditorium at World Vision headquarters.  Here the communion ministers have come up to the altar.  Charlie Dittmeier is the presider.

Night-time scavenger Coming home after the Christmas Eve mass, Jim McLaughlin, one of the Maryknoll lay missionaries, found this thirteen-year old boy going through the trash on a street. There are an army of trash-pickers on the Phnom Penh streets, but what is unusual about this boy is that he is working at night and with a lamp attached to his head for visibility. Probably he hopes this will give him a first shot at the best garbage. A sad commentary on our world.

Christmas morning construction Across from my house workmen were busy moving a gate on a wealthy neighbor's house from one end of the compound wall to the other end.  Christmas is a normal working day here and people like construction workers rarely get Sunday off.

A deaf community activity From 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM we had an activity to bring the deaf community of Phnom Penh together. The deaf people here do not know each other because there have been no deaf schools or organizations until very recently.  We meet in a Buddhist wat or temple.

Christmas afternoon was spent at home working on the budget for an overseas trainer we are hiring to teach deaf education to our teachers. I need the numbers of just how much money we have left in our budget for the e-mail negotiations with this trainer who lives in Canada.

Maryknoll Christmas dinner
This evening the Maryknoll community gathered at our office for a Christmas dinner. We had about 25 people present, including some long-standing friends and colleagues and some visitors to Phnom Penh. Here Jim and Roberta McLaughlin prepare the turkey for serving.


Three kings

The final Maryknoll gathering of the Christmas season was a Three Kings Party hosted by Roberta and Jim McLaughlin.

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