A Whole Lot of Wet

We’re definitely in the rainy season now, and today was exceptionally wet. It started raining about a half hour before I was due to leave in the afternoon and I didn’t think much about it but just put on my poncho and got on my bike. About a block away, though, I started encountering streets like this and decided it wasn’t worth it and went back to DDP and called a three-wheel tuk-tuk like these above.

Say what?

First there was the “Clobber” clothing store that recently opened. But now I’m wondering about this “bakery cafe.” Where did they get the name “85º Bakery Cafe”? I’ve been trying to figure that out since it opened last year. Is 85º a proper temperature for making coffee or something?

Time for a Haircut

As part of the DDP Job Training Project, we have a barber shop where young deaf men learn to cut hair. Of course, I have to go there. It gives “face” to the trainees that I trust them, but it also can make them quite nervous to be cutting the “boss'” hair.
The young man in the top photo was doing quite well with my hair. He was just slow, and the trainer (dark shirt above) told me that was because he was frightened to be cutting my hair and would cut just a little at a time to be sure he didn’t make any mistake. I really upset the trainee, though, when I asked him to trim the odd hairs in my bushy eyebrows. He had never done anything like that and handed the clippers over to the trainer who also took the opportunity to even out the long hair on top.

First Day at Work

Today Maryknoll Lay Missioner Julie Lawler (C) came for her first day on the job at the Deaf Development Programme where she will be an educational advisor. Julie arrived in Cambodia in January but has been in language school up to now, learning both spoken Khmer language and Cambodian Sign Language. With her is Touch Sophy, the Education Project manager, and Russ Brine, another Maryknoll Lay Missioner, who is DDP finance manager.

Changing Times

When I first arrived in Phnom Penh, practically every store had an open front like this one. (They didn’t have the bright lighting and signs, though.) Today this type of store front is fast disappearing as more and more shops are enclosed, with actual doors–and some even with air conditioning.

Evangelization? Inter-religious Dialogue?

Whatever you call it, it’s building up the reign of God on earth.

Fr. Bob Wynne started a program in Anlong Knang, a resettlement area outside of Phnom Penh, for the elderly men and women who live there with no families and no support systems. His program gives hot meals to the elderly twice a week plus staples for other days, and there is a core of young volunteers who visit the elderly on weekends to clean the house, wash their clothes, help with problems, take them to the local clinic if they are ill–and most of all just show them love and respect. The interesting thing is that all of the youth volunteers are Buddhist!

Birds+Nests=Soup

It’s not uncommon to see buildings like the one above dotting the Cambodian landscape….

They are distinctive for two things: first while they may have some vents, like the one above, they have no windows. And second, they have an opening like the one on the left end of the building (right photo) and birds are flying in and out.

You have heard of birdnest soup. This is where they get the birdnests. The birds nest in these rooms and create nests held together with their saliva, and then later the nests are harvested and soaked and made into soup.

Heaven or Hell?

This man is selling durian, the Asian fruit that famously “tastes like heaven, smells like hell.” Because of its strong odor, it is forbidden to carry durian onboard airplanes, buses, and other conveyances, but many, many people love its taste. The large sign indicates 10,000 riel ($2.50) probably per kilogram. The red paint on some of the durians indicates a better grade of quality.