Deaf Youth Camp #2

Friday started off early in Phnom Penh.  Then after a long bus ride to Siem Reap, the group had lunch and jumped into their camp program.  Metta Karuna is a reflection center run by the Jesuits, close to town but away from the noise and hustle of the tourists.  Click here to see pictures from the first day.

Maryknollers Get Fingerprinted

First, sorry for not being able to post yesterday.  We had to get fingerprinted in the morning and the plan was afterwards to update this website before heading to Siem Reap for a deaf youth camp.  But it turned out the whole morning was spent with the fingerprints so that I had no time to do anything before heading north to the camp.

A recent directive from the Ministry of Social Affairs said that all the Maryknoll project directors need to get a criminal record check.  Probably that is the result of international NGOs pushing against the trafficking and abuse of children here.

I thought it would take maybe 15-30 minutes for the seven of us to be printed but it took 2 1/2 hours.  We had to fill out a form for the Cambodian police at the Ministry of the Interior and that took a while because they wanted all our heights in centimeters, etc., and then eventually we each were fingerprinted twice.

The original plan was that we would get fingerprinted and then we would send the copies of the print and our payment to the FBI in Washington, DC., they would do a criminal check, and then send us a record of their findings which we could submit to MOSVY.  But it turns out that the police here have some sort of working arrangement with the FBI and the US Embassy so the time spent on all the paperwork was to send that to Washington for us.  We had to pay $30 each for that, plus $2.50 for new photos, but if we understood correctly what they were telling us, we don’t have to do anything more.

Sr. Mara Rutten, who used to work for the FBI in Washington, has her height measured in centimeters.
Sr. Helene O’Sullivan has her fingers inked for the printing. For some reason, two other officers both took photos of each of us being fingerprinted.

Mother Nature’s All Wet…

Some people say there’s no global warming, no climate change but it’s hard to accept that here.  When I first came to Cambodia, I was told that the rainy season ended in late September.  Then the last few years it seemed to finish in November or December.  This year it was raining into mid January.  Finally last week we had a full week with no rain and I thought “It’s finally over!”  But then today we had a sprinkle in the morning and then a real light rain this afternoon!  When will it stop?

It’s Not My Job….

Recently there has been a flurry of street paving in our part of town.  It’s getting close to local elections and the ruling party wants to show its best side.  Before the pavers got to Street 105, though, two really deep holes had developed on two successive street corners.  Apparently water underneath the pavement had washed away whatever foundation there was and a hole developed, straight down, at least eighteen inches deep and ten inches wide and extending who knows how far under the pavement.  When they first appeared, the populace did what they usually do, stick a tree branch into the hole to make it more visible.

But then the street pavers came along.  Now their job is to pave the street, not repair it, so they just paved around the hole.

A DEEP hole in a busy street. With no more tree branches around, someone covered it with a piece of cardboard, perhaps thinking the contrasting color might alert motorists to the danger.
Probably after some motorcycle or bicycle crashed into the hole, someone then put these bags of trash on the edges of the hole as a warning.

Lunar New Year—Day 3 — #6

Today is the last of the three days of official celebration according to Chinese tradition–although there are NO official public holidays in Cambodia for the lunar new year.  Many families either relaxed at home today behind the closed shutters of their shops or continued visiting relatives and friends.  Click here to see these last new year photos.