Hi, thought I would write bits this week in the hope that it might help me remember the interesting bits! Here goes, I was cycling home last night and had to overtake two 18 year old isn lads who were busy chatting to each other. I hadn't gone far when I heard, " Madame, Madame go slower I want to talk to you." I turned round and shouted, You'll have to catch me up, I'm not slowing down for you." After a bit one of them caught up with me and as usual wanted to know where I was from and where I was going. When I explained that I was working here he wanted me to be his teacher. Fortunately, when I turned off he continued on his way.
The roads have been flooded twice this week to about 18 inches, but as the surfaces have now gone it is a nightmare going along them. The potholes are so deep and the rough stones lying everywhere waiting to puncture unsuspecting tyres. On Mon evening as I bumped through one my flip flop fell off and floated away, luckily a boy swimming in between the vehicles rescued it for me and returned it. Saved me 2 $ the price of a new pair.
The Phnom Penh Post is giving out warning of a tropical storm that is supposed to reach Cambodia tomorrow and clear by Mon - we are to expect strong winds and very heavy rain which will cause serious flooding in many provinces, this one included.
The storm has been downgraded to heavy rain and it has just started to fall again, the sky is very grey, quite windy and much cooler, so it is pleasant. I have a nasty cold, so these conditions are better for it, felt rough yesterday, but a bit brighter today, although it does seem to be going onto my chest. The sore on leg got much worse and was extremely painful, so I had to decide whether to seek help or self medicate! The latter won and I'm taking the antibiotics, Bruce my dentist, gave me two years ago! I checked online and discovered they were double the recommended strength, so had to reduce the intake. Fortunately, they are working brilliantly and the problem seems to be clearing up well. If only antibiotics would cure a cold too, but perhaps they will prevent a chest infection.
Didn't cycle yesterday due to the heavy rain when I got up, but later in the day I took a new Malaysian vol out and about for 2 and a half hrs to show her around the countryside a bit and to help her get her bearings. Although cloudy all morning the sun came out and I did get rather red, but it has calmed down today.
Friday lunchtime all of us volunteering at GH went to the local pagoda for a blessing, it was my first one and an interesting experience! I'm trying not to be too cynical! We arrived and handed over over donation to the monk, who then blessed it - it is supposed to pay for the monks food and the poor of the community and then he blessed us individually and tied a plaited piece of red wool around each of our wrists. We were then collectively blessed and then sat on steps and he proceeded to throw buckets of water over us. We were drenched, it was difficult not to laugh or scream, and we didn't know how long it would go on for. Local kids gathered to watch the barangs with bemused looks on their faces. After it was a quick ride back to GH and afternoon classes, looking extremely disreputable and very wry. Luckily, I had a spare t-shirt so could change that.
We are now in the lead up to Pchumn Ben, when Buddhists remember their ancestors, most visit the pagoda at 4am to throw food for their spirit ancestors and take food for the monks. This festival finishes on 16 Oct when families will visit the pagoda together and then eat and party. Most go home to their families and places will close down. We have the week off school, I'm looking forward to a break, but on the Tues we are going to Wat Bo our local pagoda with the Khmer staff and their families and then we are coming back to eat together. We did this my first time here and it was an enjoyable day, last year the floods ruined everything. I haven't any plans as yet for the rest of the week. I must start visiting temples that I haven't been to before, so it will be a good opportunity.
I have been to 2 fund raising quizzes this week, and been in the runners up team each time.
Lots of activity in the paddy fields, harvesting, replanting and cultivating them, so the water buffaloes are busy. The poor women are in water up to their waists cutting the ripe that is ready, but they are struggling to dry it at the moment due to the rains. I think some is being cut early to avoid it being ruined if and when it might flood. A tricky time of the year for the crop.
Although the state schools have reopened after the long holiday the children are not doing very well. Kong Much is still very badly flooded, so cannot open and at another the children are being sent home, but I don't know why. The children look very smart in their new blue and white uniforms, shorts and shirt, shirts and trousers or skirts and shirts provided by different NGO's. the older girls wear long, straight wrap round skirts and look so elegant as they cycle or ride as a passenger on a bike. None of the girls seem to wear trousers for school, although they do to GH and in their free time.
It has rained heavily most of the day, so it has been a leisurely one washing clothes, reading and snoozing, so I now feel a bit better. About 3:45 I decided I needed to go out so rode into town and ate at Angkor Famous - yellow noodles, noodles and a fried egg plus a 50 cent beer and then free fruit salad and a bottle of water it cost me the equivalent of £1.50, it was delicious and filling. Everyone in town looked rather forlorn under their brollies or bright plastic ponchos. I got wet riding back but pleased that I'd made the effort to go out. The temp is in the top 20's so the plastic makes you sweat and smell! Amongst all the puddles the Khmer ladies are walking to the pagoda in their best white tops and fitted long Khmer skirts, they look so elegant and seem to manage without sweating and spraying the mud everywhere.
I have found out how to add photos to this now, but they wouldn't open so I have deleted them and will give it another go. Don't think second try has worked either, but I will leave them and see what happens.
Need to go and prepare my work for next week, enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a good week. Take care and love to all, J x