Just another regular week in Battambang
This week has flown by. Just like your regular beloved annual holiday, first few days are inviting and slow and suddenly your holiday accelerates and before you know it its all over. I fear this will be the same as we accept and adjust to a slower pace, to take our time, to allow the day to unfold in its own way and succumb to the pace needed to live in this heat. The rains have begun in earnest, catching us out in full force for the wettest bike ride of our lives.
We are learning to acknowledge there is always tomorrow, and enjoy the here and now, the today. What better way to acknowledge this than witnessing monks on their morning collection of alms. Clothed in orange robes and carrying their alms bowls, a solemn silent line of around thirty barefoot monks walk along the streets to collect offerings from the locals.
This week has had ups and downs, in fact some major downs, and it is important I share these as by no means is this journey for everyone. I say this because I have started to read a few other family blogs and rarely do these parents admit to the difficulties of travelling with children. The most happiest perfect people in the world couldn’t possibly take a journey of this nature and profess for it to be perfect?
This week we have completed the tourist T-shirt project thanks again to the skills of my dear friend Vanessa.
We have visited another computer centre, the Karuna Computer Centre based out at the Catholic Church here in Battambang. The Director, Tom, was so generous with his time sharing all the learnings of educating the young in developing computer skills for us to share with CAD. This was probably the most thoroughly thought through lab we have seen so far and a lot of focus on creating an integrated learning program for the students.
We have sourced some excellent resources we can use, and have determined the importance of introducing typing skills to children before moving on to any more complex Microsoft programmes. Next week we will load the appropriate typing program onto the machines and complete some introductory classes for use in the first few days.
So I have had to remind myself that there were many reasons for us being here. For a start we have started a whole learning journey of how international development operates on the ground and the issues they face. We are starting to see what actually inspires us personally and where our interests may possibly lie. Of course it is also about the boys. Having the boys experience a completely different way of life as a family and work through this exposure in a protective but educational way. Maybe you are wondering what on earth they are learning? I wouldn’t even know where to start in explaining that to you, as really there is so much. Other than the obvious life experience and exposure, we work with them a couple of hours each day. Zachary can now tell the time. Oscar has overcome his terror of math. They can recount the history and geography of Cambodia, and have experienced the wonders of Angkorian Temples. They understand the devastation caused by land mines and have started to witness the realities of poor education and the vicious cycle of poverty.
New Style Hair
Oscar and The Tooth
Within an hour we were en route to the dentist with our translator. I can’t deny it, Oscar was completely and totally freaked. I tried all methods of calming him down which included a dash back to the room for remaining drops of Rescue Remedy (someone send me some more please.. along with swimming goggles!). We entered the foyer of the dentist to be greeted by a charming Cambodian dentist with excellent English. I stated to follow him to his appointment room but this was the final straw for poor Oscar. Never having been to a dentist before (other than a 5 year old check-up) he completely lost control. There was no way on earth he was going to have anyone, go anywhere, near his mouth, or in fact any further into the dentist surgery. The dentist agreed there was no way we were going to get him in there but that he would recommend we return for a small filling. Tails between our legs we returned to the safety of Daddy and Zac, and reached out to Comms Central aka My Mum. The power of Viber and within an hour we had sent through a picture of Oscar’s tooth to our great friend John, a dentist. John advised against any remedial work for now, if it was bothering him perhaps a little filing down of the tooth, but otherwise leave it for now. For the moment, there is no way on earth Oscar is returning and you will all now get to enjoy photos with wonky teeth. His voice has a little lisp, but I am hoping munching on a few raw apples and carrots may eventually wear down the sharpness and we will be good to avoid the terror for a while.
One of our country managers Jo, has had his girlfriend Ivy visiting from China. They have got on so well with the boys and amazingly offered to take them out for a few hours during the afternoon. The boys were so excited and were taken to visit the crocodile farm and paint welcome banners for the new student teams arriving next week.
J & I were at a loss as to what to do – 5 weeks exactly we have been together 24 hours a day, and suddenly we were just two adults.. we decided to take off on our bikes and take it slowly, ambling through the back streets, taking a few pictures as we go and taking time to observe rather than be on a mission to get from A to B with kids on the back. A few pictures below show the real Battambang and the sights that we see and have become accustomed to in our daily life here.
We took our time walking the evening market taking in the sights and sounds, rewarding myself with a foot spa in a newly opened premises supporting teenage girls. We indulged in couple of happy hour beers taking the time to talk and for reflection and planning without those little ears and voices ever present.
For those of you who have made it this far, I urge you to visit my YouTube page which is finally up and running in response to Zachary’s obsession with taking videos. These videos will totally bring to life our day to day here in Battambang.