Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 2 & Day 3 of The Water Festival Holidays

Day 2 of the Water Festival holidays had us taking the young woman to the local water park. They had voted for this and so off we went. However, when we arrived it turned out that only 3 of the young women wanted to swim. One other girl chose not to wet her hair as she had just spent time using one of those straightening hair irons, a couple others decided they just wanted to walk around and take photos of themselves at the Waterpark and the rest of the young women just didn't want to get dark from the sun. In a previous post I had mentioned that having fair skin here is seen as beautiful so many Khmer females avoid the sun and if they do go swimming, well they are dressed in full attire from top to bottom so no part of their skin can get tanned. It is such a far cry from how women in the West would act.

I had taken my swimming wear but having seen the environment and the water color, my first thoughts were bacteria and infection. I don't think this waterpark uses chlorine as the water color reminded me of a river. So I opted to take photos and watch those who had gone swimming.
Two of the young women having a swim
No sooner had we arrived, some of the other young women were hungry so out came all the pre-packed food they had made---fried chicken wings, kimchi, deep fried vegetable wraps, fried eggs, boiled eggs, and mangoes with hot sauce.

We spent about 4 1/2 hours at the Water park and those who swam did not want to leave. They made sure their got their monies worth. The rest of us like typical Asians continued eating to pass the time.
Food prepared for our ''Hot Pot'' dinner 
Day 3, involved more food and it is becoming quite clear that we have a few young women who are passionate about cooking. They are always in the kitchen cooking even if it is not their turn. I am convinced that one day one of them will be managing a restaurant. She has a natural talent for organizing and preparing food and is good at instructing the others what to do. Today the young women voted to have a hot pot meal which involves making a clear broth soup and mixing it with various vegetables and meats. Its actually quite a healthy meal so several of the young women helped clean and wash the vegetables and cut up the meat.

Other young women decided to do some frying of shrimp chips and another Khmer delicacy that would be part of the hot pot meal outside.

Frying Shrimp chips outside in the 'garden''
One young women decided to kill some time by cleaning up a section outside of the building and pulling out weeds at the side of one of the walls. We are hoping to clear the entire area as we have been blessed with different types of fruit trees (mangoes, jackfruit, bananas and a Khmer fruit called Champoo) at the back of the property. The young women love picking fruit off the trees and often one will find some of them sitting outside having sour mangoes with a pepper sauce.

Weeds near the wall were cleared today

Small green mangoes appearing on one of our fruit trees
Jackfruit growing on one of our trees

This coming weekend one of the young women has volunteered to coordinate all the flower planting so we will head to the local garden shop and pick up some flowers and other plants as we continue our garden project.
Making muffins

But the cooking was not done, some of the young women also wanted to bake a cake so earlier in the day, I had found one of the easiest muffin mixes at the local supermarket that only required water to be added. It is my type of baking! The young women were happy to help. Within 15 minutes the muffins were ready and the young women were quite impressed with their baking talents and ended up taking photos of themselves with the freshly baked muffins.

Shortly afterwards it was time for dinner. We opted to eat outside given the cooler afternoon temperatures. It turned out to be a wonderful afternoon as we sat around cooking the food in the hot pot. Of course, since most of the young women are of teenage age, the stereo system was brought down from the recreational room and the volume was cranked up as we sat around to Khmer pop music and the infamous Gangnam Style music. It was loud but the young people did not seem to notice!

The holiday has ended now and its back to school tomorrow or back to work. The two young women who were visiting their families arrived back in the late afternoon.

Am thankful for this holiday time to just relax. Hanging around teenagers might not seem relaxing to most people but strangely enough, I seem to get energized by their antics. Perhaps I am re-living my youth! The brief reprieve from work has ended but it was a much needed break to just enjoy each other's company and most of all, to see the laughter and joy that was evident in the different activities that the young women participated in. They are a breath of fresh air. We pray that in all of these experiences, each of these young women will continue to feel more at home and as they spend time together, God will continue to strengthen their sense of belonging and that they will be like ''iron sharpening iron" as He deepens the bonds and relationships among them.

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