Letters from Cambodia


Early morning. The dogs have stopped barking and the cocks start crowing at 4am. There is a gamelin playing somewhere and I can hear soft Buddhist chanting. Someone pumps water in the garden, a gecko chuck chucks in the roof and it is time to greet the day.

I am staying with Sister Soklin and Sr Ponthip and yesterday we went by tuk-tuk into Siem Reap for mass at 6am. There were six sisters of charity there so after mass I went to their Mother Teresa house around the corner where they care for sick children;  a roomful of cots and unbelievably small children sitting round having breakfast though there were soon a half dozen bouncing on my knee to the Grand old Duke of York.


Then an hour and a half's drive  by pick-up truck to the floating village on the edge of the Tonle Sap Lake. The schoolhouse was surrounded by floodwater but young boys, who seem as at ease on the water as on land, rowed us over tipping the boats for fun as they pretended to sink us. Sr Ponthip goes every week, once the floodwater recedes enough for it to become accessible by road, taking rice soup and drinks for the children and afterwards teaches catechism to a small group. A dozen young Australians had come for "immersion experience" and brought games and songs. Then the 130 children, sometimes more, sat down cross legged in rows for lunch looking every bit like a famine advertisement. Afterwards she distributed some of the 100 New Year parcels to needy families, each bag of food containing among other things 10 kg of rice.

Various pics of Cambodia


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