Hope all is well on the other side of the world. We are all so disturbed by all that is going on in our world. The news seems to get worse and worse. So lets focus on better and exciting news. Another amazing day in Cambodia. How many times have I said this over the years? That’s why I have made eight visits. Got up this morning and had breakfast with my friend from Tasmania. This is her first visit and she is taken back by the kindness of the people. We talked but she needed to leave since she was going to visit Angkor Wat. After breakfast went upstairs and rested. I then went out for my daily walk to “Gloria Jeans” but was hit by waves of “Africa Hot”. Immediately turned around and went back upstairs. I then checked my emails and received a very touching email from one of the scholarship students. I quote:
Hi Larry, my name is Brathna. I’m scholarship student of PEPY. I’m glad to see you and to know you. I want to be with you and want to know you forever. I hope you do not disagree you will be able to continue to be with me forever.
Sarrak picked me up at 9:15 AM with Kimsru, Chhunnay, “Soury and Channa. Chhunnay, Soury, and Channa are former scholarship students who are now part of the staff of PEPY. I remembered them and they remembered me from past years. Of course there was Kimsru. I wish I can bottle her energy, laugh and excitement. We all need some of Kimsru. A very special person. We were going to visit the homes and families of Chhunnay, Soury and Channa in the countryside. After about an hour drive past green rice patties, road side food vendors and weird looking vehicles, we finally arrived at the home of Chhunnay. His family are farmers. They grow rice and have a fish pond. Chhunnay told me that his father would raise the fish with turtles and sell them when they reached a certain weight. I met his parents and saw what they had and they only wanted their son to go to the University. Chhunnay now speaks perfect English and is a great role model. We then went to lunch. I had previously eaten in this beautiful Khmer restaurant set on a fish pond. Great food. We then went to Soury’s home. A long drive over dirt roads. Finally arrived. Her parents were so hospitable. They had bought local Khmer cookies and pastries for us and also served us mango and bananas. Her father was a former school teacher who has now retired and is a farmer. When we arrived we also met her sister and one of her brothers. Her sister, who was in High School, had written on a board that looked like a chalk board, her daily activities in almost perfect English. The chalk board was not a chalk board, but a stretched out tire tube. Most of the tires we use do not have tubes in them. Walked through her families home and farm seeing lots of dogs, chickens, cows and various crops. It was then onto Channa’s home. His family are also rice farmers. Most of the rice is sold as unprocessed rice to Thailand or Vietnam. Those countries process the rice and say that it is from their country. Channa’s family had just finished building a new home. The home took over five years to build. I can only stare in awe at these parents for wanting a better life for their children and sacrificing making their lives better to give their children the opportunity of getting an education. At about 4 PM, I was dropped off at the hotel to rest. A day full of emotion and awe. I felt like a wet hot rag. By the way, I received a whats app text this morning from Kevin Pepper. Both Kevin and Andy will be leading the group in Mongolia. Kevin already is in Mongolia. He texted that he just got back to Ulan Bator after living with one of the host families we will be staying with in Mongolia. I quote: “I can attest to the cold temps. Make sure you’ve got your long underwear and your fur hat, Larry”. Can’t wait to feel the cold.
At 6 PM Kimsru picked me up for dinner and we walked to the restaurant. I had a great surprise. Kimline was joining us. Kimline used to be PEPY’s head internal accountant and then became President. She has left and started her own accounting business. She currently has four people working for her. Kimline is such a wonderful woman and she and I have shared so much throughout the years. She is such a great role model. To have accomplished what she has is a truly awe inspiring story.
Hope everyone has enjoyed day 4. Surprises await me tomorrow.