Hi, Sun morning from a very cloudy Siem Reap. 7 am
Another tiring but enjoyable week over and today is one for relaxing after a very hot and physical Saturday.
Yesterday I completed the second 40km cycle ride, a different scenic route, but one that had to be over firmer surfaces as the very heavy storms are making sand tracks difficult t o negotiate, but we did go along some. Hence, at the end of the ride we are all coated in thick, orange mud, wearing sweat drenched tee shirts and shorts. My first job for today must be to wash them. I'm amazed how well I'm managing the country riding, the Belle walking must have kept me reasonably fit, I love the beautiful scenery, watching the bits of rice harvesting that are being done and the replanting. It is all such physical labour under intense heat. No wonder people are up and about so early in a morning. These rides must be helping in my preparation for the Angkor Ride on Dec 1, I would love to be able to manage the 100km one, but sensibly it might have to be the 50km.
Yesterday was also a Fun Walk for the A B C's and rice project, so after a scrub down and change of clothes it was off to Chilli Si Dang to start the next one. It was supposed to be fun, but I set off at my usual speed intending to stay at the front - the dust, noise, traffic and 35+ heat made it challenging. I was only overtaken in the last 20m and much to my annoyance I couldn't run because there was too much slipping in my flip flops for me to keep them on and I couldn't face taking them off. So I finished a credible 5th. After the fun of the finish and something to eat it was home and a very early to bed - 7:30pm, but then the fun began with an overhead thunder and lightning show and torrential rain for hrs, but luckily no power cut. However, we have been having a couple of them most days, but for only short times. The walk for me was made by a golden Labrador joining it, a couple who live here bought Monster from a Bangkok market when she was only a few weeks old, she is 98% lab, but has a curly tail, The rest was good and apparently all her traits are pure lab! The afternoon raised a lot of money for the project, one very similar to GH, but run by Tammy, an incredible Canadian who came on hol, saw the children's poverty and plight and never left.
The Khmer house at GH is progressing well and it fascinating watching it's progress and the methods used. Locally put together equipment for moving heavy stuff, a handmade plumb line, barefooted workers and certainly no hard hats, unless Phooy wearing his cycling helmets counts! But I think the purpose of that is to protect his hair do.
Already this morning I have helped Vuy with his English homework, some of it, as usual, made me think! He is very worried as his brother has had to have an operation to remove an extra piece of meat growing from his intestine (his words), his wife and 8 month old daughter have had to move into the hospital to look after him. I assume it is possibly cancer, and of course there is no treatment for it here, so the prognosis does not look good. I have seen many people on their motos carrying their IV drips with them.
Four of the young vols have just returned on the overnight bus from Phnom Penh, as yet haven't heard their stories.
I have only just found your messages, apologies , I hadn't looked at the end of each blog. It's great to receive and read them.
The best time to Skype me is Mon - Fri 5pm here - 11 am your time and for a couple of hrs after that, and at weekends the same, but also a bit earlier your morning. Skype has been working well this time, the iPad has made a difference for that. However, I cannot put my pictures on the blog, but I have put them all on Facebook, thing on it is Jennifer Jones but I have a picture of a passport by my name, rather than my own one!
For the previous times I have been here there has been a young landmine victim selling books around the tourist parts. He is minus a leg and had other injuries too. He was either very friendly or a very cross teenager, last year when Mati and Geoff were here he managed to upset Jerry very badly by talking to another couple of young sellers and after that incident Jerry completely blanked me every time he saw me. I've looked for him this time, but never seen him, so I asked Bridget about him and heard a brilliant bit of news. Apparently he was being treated very badly by a guy who was controlling him - physical, verbal, sexual abuse. Fortunately, Green Gecko another project which works with the street kids began to work with and now he lives at their place, has an operation to reverse colestomy and stoma bags he had and can now receive a proper education and live within a community and has complete support. He has also been able to revert to his own Khmer name. I am so pleased for him as he was a great kid with so much potential.
Just had to rush outside becausevI could hear some noise, it was a lady with a handcart sorting through our rubbish looking for stuff she could take away to recycle. It was all carefully sorted and weighed and then she handed over a few reils for it. Photos will soon appear online! Whilst outside it began to spit with rain.
I bought a mobile a couple of weeks ago but haven't got round to putting any money on it until this morning, I found a text someone had sent me yesterday, but as yet it is refusing to send any I write. However, I've just managed my first phone call and even been able to answer one. The first year I was here one hardly saw mobiles unless it was a westerner, now everyone has one, and of course they can all text, talk, and dial whilst driving, cycling motoring etc!
Probably going out for lunch with Bridget and Rhonda, a Tasmanian lady I have met many times, otherwise a lazy day with work for the week to prepare.
Enjoy your weekend, love to all, J x