The kids continue to inspire and delight. There’s nothing quite like a day in bed with stomach problems, then a weak but able sunset temple visit to make me reflect on the love and gratitude for a great family, and creative, silly, tender-hearted and curious kids.
We’ve been trying to connect with NGO’ and their affiliated “social enterprises.” Services or shops that support the development and growth of disadvantaged Cambodian youth or those blinded, deafened or disfigured by land mines (that still exist off the beaten path). The first night in Cambodia, we went to a Friends restaurant where all of the staff are former street kids training for restaurant work or to improve English and move on to higher education. There is one teacher server and many student servers. They also had a retrash shop filled with upcycled art, bags made from rice sacks, wallets out of rubber tires and beads made from wrapped paper. The kids loved the whole concept and it really set the stage for looking for opportunities to support good causes while we eat, shop, and recreate. On this particular night, Porter ordered grilled frog legs. He was so brave, it looked like…well…frog legs up to the waist. It was basically a Frog and Toad massacre disguised as 5-star cuisine but he powered through. I tried to play it cool but could not watch him eat it. John got a delicious steak salad sprinkled with red tree ants!!
The next morning after watching sunrise at Angkor Wat (kids willingly got up at 4:15am), we came upon a monk doing blessings. The kids were eager to engage. The monk was playful and kind. It is amazing how quickly kids take to all of the cultural protocols. No hang ups about using language, taking shoes off, bowing with hands in prayer, kneeling in front of a monk. When Porter bowed in prayer pose, he had his shoes in his hands. The monk giggled and said “bless the shoes, bless the shoes.”
Porter found one of my trip highlights at the Angkor Thom temple. He said, “hey guys, there’s something where you take your shoes off and it looks cool.” We all followed and discovered at the heart of the temple, a small dark chamber filled with Buddha statue, offerings, candles and incense. We took off our hats, packs and shoes, entered and kneeled together. Even though the temple complex was filled with other tourists, we had almost 5 minutes alone in this sacred space. We each lit incense and sat in contemplative silence. I was so moved and filled with love. We tiptoed out, bowing our respects.
In perfect kid form, 10 minutes later, I said how special that was for me and Porter asked, “what experience? What room? When? What candles? Ohhh yeah” I am going to just assume that the experience was so wonderful that it bypassed short term memory and went straight to deep cellular memory and a lasting impression.
Yesterday, we found another social enterprise, silk screen t-shirt making. The kids will write more details about the experience, but mia and porter were so excited to participate and adamant that we had to do this particular activity because it was a “social enterprise”. It was a group effort but the kids were in the lead with design ideas. They both know exactly what they want and they are great at compromising and blending ideas.
Unfortunately, I did not get to join them for the actual screen process since I was laid up in bed all day with crummy tummy. The bathrooms are well designed for this occurrence. Most bathrooms are one multipurpose room, toilet, sink and shower. So, if you fear expelling from both ends (which I did fear), no worries, because you can just hose down and shower up. Fortunately, it never came to that, my system decided to take turns.
The kids of course were loving and tender when they returned with stories of print making, so proud of the family shirts they created.
We ended our time in Siem Reap at Pre Rup temple for sunset, wearing our team shirts. The kids got really into using the good camera and learning settings. Then a beautiful tuk tuk ride home with the rising orange full moon.