February 16, 2011
Read the full article →
October 11, 2010
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Today was a day of running errands for the foundation, but it was fun and interesting. The first order of the day was a visit to Tchey School to deliver some school books and take a look at the school. This school is the model of what all the schools have the potential to be, yet at the same time there is a cautionary tale to be told.
Tchey school has been the recipient of a lot of attention and donations, from the PLF and from numerous organizations. While it has benefited from the donations with the building of new classrooms, library, kitchen and other structures, it has also suffered from the short-attention-span syndrome of many organizations. What you don’t hear a lot about in the world of charities is that many come in, build something, and then leave with no plan in place with how to deal with the expense of running it after their departure. This can be seen in the numerous buildings which currently sit empty, not being used for their original intent. One of the reasons I admire what the foundation does is that they are in it for the long haul and have a long term vision for each school. It’s not about a quick fix for Ponheary or Lori or the foundation.
Check out the slideshow above of photos from the school.
This is a new format, let me know what you think!
We walked around the school, and the kids were playing outside and sitting at their desks while all the teachers had a planning meeting about the beginning of the year. Imagine that happening in a public school in the US. We saw a special classroom built by the Japanese to educate high acheiving local kids in the Japanese language and …
November 17, 2010
Read the full article →
October 8, 2010
Pchum Ben Festival
This morning we got up at 3am to go out to a pagoda in a rural area about an hour outside Siem Reap to feed our ancestors. Yes, you read that right.
Today is one of the most important days during the Pchum Ben holiday in which people gather at their pagoda to honor their ancestors with food and worship. This is very similar to All Soul’s Day and The Day of the Dead in other cultures. My mother, Lori, and I were taken by one of the foundation’s regular van drivers, Den, to his home where the family had been hard at work making packets of food wrapped in banana leaf bundles to bring to the pagoda and they had very nicely made extra for us.
After stopping at the house to pick up the food and the rest of the family, we drove about a half mile to the village’s pagoda and temple. Once there, we went inside the pagoda which was filled mostly with Buddhist nuns all dressed in white, many of whom had walked for miles to get there. They all came prepared for the duration of the holiday, bringing bedding and some food with them.
We were the only foreigners there, but everyone was extremely welcoming and it didn’t feel awkward at all. Member’s of Den’s familytook us around to give offerings of 500 riel notes (about 12 cents) to the nuns (most of whom are older widows) and monks who were there, who each gave us a blessing. This money is supposed to help them defray the cost of their long journey and is also a way to pay respect to the dead through them. There were other people doing this with money and gifts of food as well.
Soon there was movement in the crowd. Den’s brother, Denny, took …