Walking around the streets of Cambodia, I found so many interesting sights...I couldn't put my camera down for a second. Here are some things you might not find in the US:
Chicken cooking on the side of the road...complete with heads and claws attached. These chickens are clearly not injected with growth hormones, nor are they corn fed on an organic ranch out in the country:
I never found out what this food is, but the presentation of it demanded a photograph. It's one of my favorite pictures and I don't even know why.
Fried frog (not just the legs!)
A group of five on a moto (see if you can spot all five heads!):
A father driving his two older sons to school on a moto:
This sight continued to shock me, though I saw it constantly (the danger!):
Street kids...these rough and tumble boys were running barefoot around the streets, obviously not attending school and fending for themselves. My assumption is that they are orphans.
I couldn't help but think of their future as the leader of the group pointed his toy gun at me. When they ran down the street, all I could do was pray for them.
A house boat...these people fish for a living and live on their boat.
Off to work!
These are linens hanging out to dry, used by a catering company:
A woman offering rice to a Buddhist monk: this is a custom of the Khmer culture. (I was thrilled that this shot came out...I took it from a moving vehicle!)
Cambodia: A new day in Kampong Cham:
You know that I have to talk about breakfast. New fruit of the day: rambutan
It was my favorite fruit...it had the texture similar to a pear. It was sweet & refreshing!
It was our fourth day of the trip, and we were heading to the villages to watch the HOPE program in action. A view from the window on our way to the village:
It's a glorious rice paddy. The vivid green was breath taking!
I loved spending time in the villages and seeing the HOPE program, which is this:
a holistic response to the challenges facing the poorest people in Cambodia, starting with the children. Read more about it by clicking here: hope
We sat in a meeting that was attended by the village chief and some community volunteers. Using illustrations, they learned about human trafficking and what a trafficker might say/look like if they came around offering work to children.
They were also told to report this type of activity to their chief and/or local law enforcement. I was intrigued by the chief; he was so focused and visibly cared for his people. I could feel the responsibility that he felt while learning about human trafficking prevention. Here he is, participating in the class:
Here is me, with a HOPE educator. I couldn't pronounce her name or even begin to spell it but she was lovely and told me that her husband is one of her volunteers.
Village people are generally naive and trusting. Many people have never been outside of their village, and some young children were afraid of our white skin...to the point of tears! This is the second child that cried at the sight of me:
Here are some village kids that weren't afraid...they were very curious!
One of the most random things we saw was clothing with English writing on it. Most of the time the phrases didn't make sense...this one did but obviously this young man didn't know what it said:
The Hope Program for kids uses creative songs, drama and puppetry to teach children about preventative health and morality.
This puppet show was teaching kids about hygiene, specifically how to properly clean their fingernails so they don't spread germs to their eyes, nose and mouth. They also learned about the hazards of playing in stagnant water.
They loved it!
The HOPE program has support for children, teens, adults and people infected with HIV AIDS. Seeing the program at work was a fantastic experience and will clearly bring sustainable change to the Khmer people. Many villagers have become Christians and are motivated by their faith to start cell groups--there are currently 350 cell groups reaching out to the community, bringing compassion and hope.
Thank for your reading my continuing story of my journey to Cambodia. I am thrilled to share it with you!
My third and final post, Cambodia: The Conclusion, will post tomorrow. I will post photos from our prostitute party and some of the worst living conditions I've ever seen. Thanks again for reading!