Saturday, November 12, 2011

RATANAK UK TEAM - Only In Cambodia

Steve Norman, Ratanak UK Director is visiting with a team of 5 people from the UK. Here are some of their blog postings from the last couple of days.

Today was the first full day for the UK team in Cambodia. Having spent 17 hours on 3 different aircraft over some 8000 mile we boarded yet another plane to head up to Siem Reap. Thank fully this was a mere 50 minutes! The temperature on leaving Phnom Penh was 34 and on negotiating customs I was asked to surrender my deodorant as it exceeded the maximum size – you can only imagine! Thankfully things cooled down to a lesser 30 degrees by Siem Reap though the crisis remained. Somewhat ironically my other luggage carried speed detection equipment consisting of battery, wires, etc. and this was not questioned…!

Cambodia is a beautiful nation and this is no different when in the air. From this point we were able to observe the extent of the floods which have claimed 147 lives since September and left many homes damaged beyond repair. As the paddy fields emerge from the flood waters the extent of the damage is being discovered. In amongst this devastation there may be still time if additional crops are planted quickly. With rice forming a significant part of the staple diet this action is so drastically needed to avert a crisis in the coming months.

After a short freshen up we were than away to the Hotel Mondial to experience an evening of traditional Khmer dance. The beauty and grace of the dancers is quite special. With a 7am start ahead, and the need to catch up on jet lag, it was time for an early night – or so we hoped. Inserting the card into the reader brought a definite lack of any form of response. Several attempts later with the same response drew the attention of a member of hotel staff. She too had no success until there were 4 all trying different cards and methods of entry to no avail. Eventually we were alerted to the sighs of relief and headed to the room to find a sight that will remain with me for many years. One of the hotel staff standing in the doorway with something resembling a washing line around his waist…! Yes – he had indeed abseiled through the window from the room above on the third floor on little less than string! Looking a little bemused he calmly picked up the string and walked away with it still coiled around him as if this was a normal everyday task. So – we are now in another room with a key that works, oh and another can of deodorant.

Tomorrow  we all leave early for the dedication of the Library and the presentation to the district governor of the aforementioned speed equipment. We are then challenged to a game of ground hockey outside in 30 plus degrees – no sweat! Sadly the plans to head out to Kopreach village with Reaksa on Saturday is cancelled as all the roads have been washed away – I guess that’s quite a good excuse!

2011 Cambodia Trip
Posted on November 1, 2011
A team of 5 people from the UK will be heading to Cambodia for a 12 day trip on 8thNovember 2011. To start the team will be travelling north to Siem Reap to join with our partner Reaksa Himm for the formal dedication of the rural library. Here we will present speed detection equipment to the regional governor kindly donated by Unipar. This is the first device of its kind anywhere in Cambodia and it is hoped that it will help in reducing the number of road deaths in the area. Later the team will travel with Reaksa to Kopreach village.

On return to Phnom Penh we will be visiting the Foster Care centres, NewSong, Transitional Living and the Elder Care programme together with having meetings with Chab Dai and Prison Fellowship. A highlight of the trip will be on Wednesday evening when we will be privileged to take the girls from the two foster homes for tea together with their chaperones. The team, consisting of Liz, Susan, Tim, Debs and Steve, will be aiming to post regular updates on the blog pages – be sure to keep in touch

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