Thursday in Phnom Penh

I slept pretty well. I was awakened early by some soft noises, like a door opening, and then my light went on briefly and off again. I still haven’t figured out what happened. There are three rooms in our unit which come off a larger common room where the front door is. On my other visits all rooms in our unit have been occupied by our team so we didn’t lock the inside doors. I think I will do that from now on.

Another surprise was the Inn’s new restaurant where breakfast is served. It is across the street. The new manager, Vendent, has expanded the business into an additional building. The outdoor courtyard is where we eat. There are only three tables and two of them fill up with young university students from the U.S. who are here doing medical missions in outlying provinces. They are all from the same church in Fayetteville. AR. My breakfast comes out in 30 seconds, literally. I think they cook ahead expecting a rush. I’m hungry and it looks good.

I go back later with Trish and Mike and watch them eat. We plan our day and go back to our rooms to do some research on games for our Friday night time with the university students in the dorms. Our time has been split between the orphanage children and the dorm students these last two years and it is interesting to see how the Asia’s Hope children transition to being university students. Some of them have taken leadership roles at the dorm.

Later: It is now evening. I am very tired but have felt pretty good all day. After breakfast today Trish and I brainstormed for games that the college students could play tomorrow night at a gathering. We have two, both of which will be challenging to explain but a lot of fun if we do them right.

We went to the Russian market to get materials for the games. The market is within walking distance of our guest house. This particular market is large, unbelievably crowded and claustrophobic even in cooler weather, but it is sweltering heat now so everything is magnified. In spite of Trish and I being thoroughly wet and sweating, the Cambodian women can be seen wearing sweaters and long sleeved blouses as they sit and cook on their charcoal burners, or their mile high stacks of garments for sale. There are no breezes, no fans, no air. It is quite an experience. But there is so much to see that I love to go anyway and can’t wait to show it to Julie.

Russian market, where you can find almost anything if you can stand to look long enough...
Russian market, where you can find almost anything if you can stand to look long enough…
Russian market food section has many small vendors like this lady.
Russian market food section has many small vendors like this lady.

We had lunch at Jars of Clay restaurant (very good) and then went by tuk tuk to Prek Eng to see the children. We spent a couple hours at each of the two houses just to catch up on their news. They are so hospitable and welcoming. Unlike children in the U.S. who say hi and then usually disappear, these kids love to sit and talk or just listen. There is always someone sitting on my lap or holding my hand or massaging my neck. They smile and laugh easily and try to communicate in English much more than they did in the past. We were served dragon fruit, leechee, mangosteen, and fried banana chips along with cold water and coffee. Mike played soccer with some of the boys – they have a special ball that is light and small when they are playing in close quarters, but were kicking a regular soccer ball out in the open, with their bare feet! They are tough!

The tuk tuk ride takes nearly an hour each way, through terrible road construction. It is a rough ride with lots of dust and potential traffic danger. Back at Green Pastures Inn Bora was waiting for us. She is the student midwife who works on the medical outreach with us. She and Sophat, one of the Asia Hope students who has graduated and is in university, came to dinner with us at Brooklyn Pizza. This is another good place to eat within walking distance, started by a man from, you guessed it, Brooklyn.

Home again to meet newly arrived members of the team, the Hamilton’s and Lydia. I have been talking with Lydia for half an hour and find her very interesting. She is just out of high school, the youngest of five children of long term missionaries. They live in the U.S. now but do a lot of traveling. This is Lydia’s first time in Cambodia and she had a lot of questions. Time to get some sleep now and I am so ready for that

One thought on “Thursday in Phnom Penh

  1. Such beautiful fabric! I can barely stand the heat and humidity in tank tops and shorts; I can’t believe those women are wearing long sleeves while cooking by the fire…IN the heat and humidity. I miss good tropical fruits: dragon fruit, lychee, and mangosteen sound great right now.

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