Adventures in Cambodia - Day Three

Wow what a full day. Quite a number of us are still jet lagged, so it took us a while to get going this morning. Rachel was the third person in the party to get ill. So far we have been lucky, as everyone has just been ill for a mor

Day 3 Work starts!

Wow what a full day. Quite a number of us are still jet lagged, so it took us a while to get going this morning. Rachel was the third person in the party to get ill. So far we have been lucky, as everyone has just been ill for a morning/afternoon.

We spent the morning discussing our plans for the week, and having worship. Then it was all hands to the pump to get all the craft things ready in time for our trip to the orphanage - this will be our main way of getting alongside the Khmer people and understanding the issues they face. Jess, and Rachel went to the internet caf� with me to do the blogs and download pictures. Two hours later, five computers and two internet cafes later, we had only managed to do a very basic blog. Broadband hasn't arrived here so to send pictures takes forever.

We caught tuk-tuks over to the orphanage. The sights were amazing. There are mopeds pulling huge trailers of metal piping, or whole families on one bike. We past little run down shacks and run down shops, and go through the newly built area with modern buildings, the new supermarket with escalators (people travel from miles around just to try it out). Sometimes we drive past the huge "snooker halls" or "Kareoke bars", that are not what they sound at all. Usually they are huge red light buildings, with expensive cars outside.

On arrival at the orphanage both us and the children meet each other with great excitement and awkwardness. What do we say? How do we behave? The formalities seemed to make it worse, but then we got the crafts and games out and suddenly there was screaming and laughter and instant success.

There are 44 children at the orphanage. Most are orphans, or from poor or abusive backgrounds. Some have HIV. The centre is so happy and caring it feels detached and miles away from the life outside its gates. I met a young boy and his sister. Their older brother died two weeks ago. It was so sad. He had contracted meningitis and by the time they got him to a hospital he was on a life support. The staff at the orphanage took it in three hour shifts to pump his oxygen manually. It went on for four days before he died. The brother and sister showed no outward signs of being affected. I can't quite get my head round it, but as one of the staff explained, "death is a regular thing in Cambodia". I suppose it is just part of life. I am looking forward to interviewing people for our filming, as there are many amazing stories to be told. The laughter and play is nice, but there is a depth and strength to the people here that they hide well.

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We left there as best friends, laughing and waving. We are back tomorrow and now have a full itinerary planned. It's going to be a very full week. We are back here tomorrow and then hopefully off to our first village on Saturday.

With everyone dripping and red faced from the heat we head out to eat. It was air conditioned. I can't tell you how nice that was. Small portions though, we had to order two meals each just to fill up - just as well it was cheap here.

Chris

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