Saturday, June 19, 2010

AIDS Education & Girls Day Out

Typically I am using Saturday as my 'rest' day so I don't go to Svay Pak but spend the time catching up with other missionary friends who are in the city. However today I left at 7:30am for Svay Pak as some of Pastor Chantha's students were asked to do a drama about HIV/AIDS prevention at a local high school and invited me to come to see them perform. They are so excited to have a 'foreigner' in their midst for events like not sure why but it was great to go along and support them. Sixteen people piled into two tuk-tuks as we headed to the school, a short 5 minute drive from Svay Pak.

Rahab's House Students Waiting To Perform Their Skit

Students at the local school watching the skits

The HIV education program was underway as we saw several hundred students and teachers learning about what causes AIDS and how to prevent it. The skit by the Rahab's House group was created by Bunthan and one of the student leader's Siny. It was a 5 part skit highlighting good students who were being tempted by their peers to skip school, to drink and do drugs. Some attitudes don't change whether you are in North America or in Asia.
Drinking, drugs and partying

However there are differences as students here are known to bribe the teachers in order to get good marks or they will even pick fights with teachers to intimidate them into passing them. This latter point is interesting as typically in an Asian context there is such respect for those in authority but apparently at this school there are lots of gangs, fights and harassment of teachers. How would you like to teach in such an environment!! Some of Pastor Chantha's students go to this school and used to be part of the gangs until they became believers.
The 'good' and 'bad' students

At any rate, as the skit progressed, it highlighted students who fell into 'bad' company and ended up getting AIDS and the impact on their bodies and their families. All of these events were all acted out in a comical way despite the serious nature of the topic. In the end, the message to the students were to obey the rules of the school, abstain from doing drugs, drinking and avoid engaging in sexual activity. Those Rahab House students who participated in the skit did an amazing job and they are so naturally talented when it comes to acting. I think we may have some budding actors and actresses in our midst. Cambodians really love skits and one can see how that can be a great tool to share the gospel in these settings.

Girls Day Out: Dary, Siny, Me and Bunthan

Well I did mention that Saturdays are my day of relaxation and so it was a perfect opportunity to have a Girls Day Out as Bunthan, Siny and another student leader Dary joined me for a day at the Spa :-) in the afternoon. Yes we took the opportunity to each get a 1 hour facial and a 1 hour massage near my hotel. I could get used to this! One of the advantages of travelling with locals is that they know the good places to eat and for some reason the 'Spa' activity seemed to open our appetites so we ended up at a famous Khmer buffet place. Sorry no pics as we were all busy eating, all for the price of US$6.00 per person and I got to have my coconut water which reminded me of my childhood days in South America. Then we were off to a local fruit market to stock up on some of my favorite fruits---mangosteen known as the Queen of fruit in Asia and a new tropical fruit that I discovered called Long Kong in Khmer. Thankfully my Khmer friends did the bargaining as sadly my 'white' skin still commands a high price. So much for being Asian in this environment! :-)

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