Going to Hong Kong

The Maryknoll Deaf Development Programme had a farewell today for our co-director, Keat Sokly (right), who is leaving tomorrow to study in Hong Kong for a year.  He will be in a sign language linguistics program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  His learning will be great for the deaf community in the long term.  In the short term, we are going to miss his presence and leadership tremendously.

Visit from a Friend

Today Keat Sokly, co-director at DDP, and I met Ms. Felix Yim Binh Sze as she arrived from Hong Kong where she is a professor in sign language linguistics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  Over dinner we discussed with Felix some ideas about CUHK starting a partnership with a local university to help sign language linguistics develop in Cambodia.

Cambodian Government:Corrupt, Incompetent 6

This is No. 6 of the nine examples of incompetence and corruption that appeared in the headlines of The Cambodia Daily in just two days.  In this article they use law (or rather, made up law) to go after political opponents.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Thursday, 10 August 2017


Another Fruit…

This week in Phnom Penh I passed a man selling this fruit from his bicycle.  I really don’t know what fruit it is.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen it served so I don’t know how it’s eaten, whether in the hand or with a fork or spoon or what.

Difficult Cultural Differences

I just sat through a two-day review of the National Disability Strategic Plan organized by the United Nations Development Program.  I’m not sure how much good such large scale (200+ people) reviews accomplish but at least a few good ideas were aired.

Such meetings are conducted in Khmer with simultaneous translation for all the United Nations people, foreign consultants, and others who wouldn’t understand Khmer.  That’s standard procedure.  The difficulty is that it is part of Khmer culture to always use a microphone, even for a small group (ours was large) and to turn it up almost as loud as it goes.  A typical large meeting in Cambodia had a noise level that would literally be illegal in the United States unless people were wearing ear protection.  What makes it especially difficult is that we foreigners have to listen to the English translation through the headphones but the ambient noise is so loud from the PA system that it is sometimes almost impossible to understand the interpreter even when we are wearing the headphones right over our ears!  Two days of that is really frustrating.

A Happy Return

In 2000, Rachel (red hair) came to Cambodia as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner, in the same class as Charlie Dittmeier.  She worked with children with severe disabilities at the Rabbit School.  At the same time, Sambath (second from right) was teaching at the Royal University of Phnom Penh in a Maryknoll project.  Rachel and Sambath met and eventually married after they returned to the United States.  This week they are back for a visit and to introduce to us their two children.  Welcome back!