Saturday–24 March

Today started off for the ANM group in Sihanoukville, on Cambodia’s southern coast on the Gulf of Thailand.  We ate breakfast with the youth campers and as they headed out for an outing, we returned to Phnom Penh in our van, arriving in early afternoon.  Then Russ Brine and Charlie Dittmeier said goodbye to Johanna Karinen who would leave the next morning to go to Hong Kong to meet our co-director Keat Sokly.

Breakfast was at 7:00 AM but the early rising Cambodian youth had finished eating by that time.
One of the characteristics of the youth gathering was just the spontaneity and joyfulness that the campers exhibited. Deaf people really enjoy being together because they are so isolated throughout their lives.
Dalen (L) shows her video editing skills to Johanna Karinen and Lika. Dalen really does have a talent for putting together short videos with funny story lines.
Several of the groups got into some impromptu human sculpturing. The group was creating an airplane–I think.
This morning each of the groups donned same-color string bracelets which would be used in a later activity.
And then before our Phnom Penh team departed we took a group photo.
The deaf people, especially the Deaf Community Center staff, have come to know and love Johanna. Here Mano (L) and Sopheap say goodbye to Johanna.
Lika (C) is the coordinator of the programs that the Finnish Association of the Deaf funds. Here she says goodbye to Johanna before getting on the bus while Vannarith, our social worker, looks on.
One bonus to a trip like ours to the youth camp is that Johanna got to see realities of Cambodia—like this traditional house on stilts–that she would miss if she only stayed in Phnom Penh.
A pleasant surprise when we stopped for a break halfway through the return trip was finding a small coffee shop and bakery that had, as they advertised it on their sign on the highway, “very NICE restrooms.”
Another glimpse of a different Cambodia was afforded by this roadside street market in a provincial town we went through.
Finally at the end of the day and back in Phnom Penh, Charlie and Russ ended up at the World Vision auditorium for the celebration of the English Catholic Community’s Palm Sunday service.