Sunday: Phnom Penh

Church meeting at Asia Hope in Prek Eng.
Church meeting at Asia Hope in Prek Eng.

In the U.S. the streets are pretty quiet early on Sunday mornings.  In Cambodia there is very little difference between Sunday and any other day.  As we rode in tuk tuks back to the Asia Hope compound for church the difference I noticed was not in the traffic but in the temperature – it finally rained last night and cooled things down a little, settled a bit of the dust.  This is normally their rainy season but this year there has been no rain for several months.  One house parent told us that his wife and the kids carry water out to their garden every day in the evening to keep the plants alive.  And I heard the rain last night as I was trying to sleep my headache away – there is a metal roof right outside my window and the rain was heavy and noisy, but welcome.  

We had a good time at church with the children from all five homes.  As usual we were the guests of honor with children holding our hands and sitting with us, fanning us, and being attentive in general.  We spent an hour and a half after church visiting one family house, went to lunch at the White Elephant (beautiful place!), and then returned to spend time with the other house. (Our team is sponsoring or closely connected to two of the five homes.) We then returned to our guest house and are having some “down time” until this evening when I get to go to the airport to welcome my daughter!

On our tuk tuk rides, which take nearly an hour when we go to Asia Hope) we talk about many things we see along the way.  There are Buddhist temples.  There are Muslim mosques and neighborhoods where women wear Muslim dress.  There is much construction.  There are many strange sights.  Today the talk was about parasites and worms of various kinds.  Yesterday at the medical clinic we had medicine for parasites that was given to several patients.  The physician’s assistant on our team suggested that we might want to take some of this medicine back home with us to treat ourselves after getting back.  I have not done that before but it sounded like a good idea after hearing some of the stories he told us.  And it is not at all hard to imagine getting parasites with the lack of sanitation that is evident everywhere.

Later: Julia arrived early at the airport and in no time at all we were heading back to the guest house. It was good for her first glimpse of Phnom Penh at night to be from a tuk tuk – all the sights and smells are very close and real. We settled down in our room to sleep but once again I had a hard time being tired. I kept thinking about my client Jack back in Florida and decided to check my phone for messages. From three different people I had messages that Jack had died in surgery of a heart attack. What a disturbing night it was from that point on – even though there was nothing I could do. I will miss him so much. But death is not a scary thing for me. I worry more for others who do not have hope as I do, that death is not the end. I know it was not the end for Jack, more a change of venue. On to Monday…

Julia, Lydia and McKenzie enroute in tuk tuk.
Julia, Lydia and McKenzie enroute in tuk tuk.

One thought on “Sunday: Phnom Penh

  1. SHIRLEY, DENNIS CAME YESTERDAY AND WE WENT TO LUNCH. He told me Jack was sick again and in the hospital.. But didn’t know he died. Very sad. Very nice man and good friend, Give my favorite Lady vet.a hug JCB

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