On take-your-child-to-work day, parents around the world let their children see where they work and how they earn a living. In a country where there is no daycare and mother is probably working in a garment factory, this little boy spends every day with his father who repairs flat tires on the side of the road.
This is the rainy season in Cambodia, there is a tropical storm affecting a whole area of Southeast Asia, and we had a really heavy storm for about an hour this afternoon. I like rain and needed to go to the grocery so I ventured out when the storm was at its heaviest.
In most countries around the world almost everyone has been affected by the closure of businesses and a reduction in commerce due to the pandemic. Cambodia has been spared much of that, and even the restaurants that closed in March are now back open and many operating as if there never was a virus. Particularly hard hit were the street vendors who depended on the thousands of school kids who eat meals and snack on the way to and from school. Basically all the schools are now reopened in Phnom Penh—on a limited basis–and the vendors are really happy to see this boy and girl and their classmates to help them recoup some of their lost income over the past seven or eight months.
Transportation between cities in Cambodia is not easy. There are no usable trains. The highways are a mess. Bus service is slow and uncomfortable and doesn’t go everywhere. If you really need to get some place, you might take a “taxi,” a euphemism for an ordinary Toyota Camry into which will be crammed seven to nine people. Somehow certain intersections have been designated as pick-up points for different cities. As you approach one of these intersections, the touts above rush you, two or three grab your luggage, and yell “Where you go?” When they get enough for a taxi–that could take five minutes or forty-five minutes–the driver takes off and drives like an idiot to your destination city. The taxi drivers are so bad and so dangerous that the Deaf Development Programme does not allow our staff to use them unless there is no other alternative.
We restarted our education project yesterday at the Maryknoll Deaf Development Programme and now that we know about how many students will be returning, we need to make some modifications to classrooms. We also need to work on the roof of this corridor. The red circle on the translucent panel marks the biggest hole—among several–caused by coconuts falling from the trees. The coconuts weight five to ten pounds and fall from 20 to 30 feet and are capable of doing a lot of damage to buildings and people.
This year, due to COVID-19, we had a small localized Deaf Day celebration on our DDP office grounds. We had about 150+ people come during the day and everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves. Click here for some photos of the day.
Olga, one of our lay missioners, has had to stay in the Philippines because of COVID-19 and death in her family. She will not be able to return to Cambodia so today a crew of Maryknollers emptied out her apartment. Sisters Regina (the organizer), Ann, and Helene were there along with our office manager Siphal and his wife and also lay missioner Julie Lawler and Charlie Dittmeier. Note the common Cambodian space-saving maneuver on the stairway: dividing a normal stairway into half sideways. Broad shouldered people beware.