Lets Go to the Night Market
05.12.2013 - 05.12.2013
Thursday morning: I woke up early. 4 a.m. is a good time to work on my blog! I went for an early breakfast as I wanted to have a look at the computer room before classes started at 8 o'clock. The room is upstairs, just above the boys' dormitory. It is a large room with about 10 computers. Some kids were working on assignments on the computers. Barbara was in the computer room, figuring how she would contribute. She is a computer teacher back in Australia. The kids were happy to show their skills. I chatted to several kids and as it got close to eight, I went to the English class downstairs. I am assisting with the morning classes for the rest of the week and I will be teaching the afternoon classes.
Many of the students are engrossed in computer tasks in this 7 a.m. class.
Sreituth, Samnet, Sreinean and Chana are working together on a word program.
The first class had nearly as many teachers: the Australian family of four, me and Malin. Barbara taught the class while the rest of us worked with individual children. This is quite helpful for the classes of younger kids, as they are on quite different levels. I was able to work with Dimon in one class. He really doesn't read, but he recognizes all the letters and says them. He "reads" aloud with the others - ( only a fraction of a second delay ! ) We went to the empty classroom next door, and made an alphabet of "SOUNDS of the alphabet letters", and chose and wrote a word for each one - with a simple sketch for each word. Dimon did quite well with this. We chose a nicely illustrated early reader's story. Painstakingly, he sounded out each letter of each word of the first two sentences. I kept recapping the words as we got through each sentence. By the end of our private class, Dimon had read two sentences. He seems to be happy with this accomplishment, and I will continue with him tomorrow. Next week Barbara will do a bit of extra work with him, and Malin, his regular Cambodian teacher said that he will see that he works on reading in this way. The second and third classes went well. Again Barbara taught, and we others gave our attention to individual kids.
Lunch break came. It is 4 hours long during the month of December. I enjoyed the luxury of going back to the hotel for an hour long nap. Then I worked on the blog. I am trying to catch up, but as long as things are busy, there is so much to write about. It seems that too soon, my break was over. The short walk back to the school is interesting. Today, there was a wedding party heading that way, to celebrate for the afternoon and then for the next two days.
The music announced this wedding party long before I came across them. They all carried gifts to be used in the upcoming ceremony.
The musicians headed this group - like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. They played traditional classical music, on a "tro u", which is a two-string vertical fiddle with a coconut shell body, with face covered with calfskin or snakeskin.
I headed back to do the two afternoon classes with the older kids. I really enjoy these classes, and the kids certainly make one feel appreciated. There is humour, questions and staying after class to talk and find out if I will be coming to the performance in the evening. Now that Danielle has left, I will be at the evening shows. Today, one of the boys gave me a note from the girl I had hoped to see. She has left ACODO but is in his class at New York International School. She will wait for me tomorrow after her classes finish at 11:30. I am ecstatic!!! He tells me that he will let her know tomorrow. I am not using names because there is some disapproval at the orphanage. I have read between the lines and it is better that I don't say. I think of this girl every time I think of Cambodia. I have a little knotted decoration from her that I always wear on my hat. Her letter to me is really sweet. I can't wait to see her.
I leave for the hotel, but Malin offers me a lift on his motorbike. It is on his way, and I am happy to accept. Just 30 minutes at "home" and I am back at the orphanage. I enjoy seeing the kids. The show starts late and I have a chance to speak to many of them about their dancing. I promise them that I will take some photos for them to bring back before I leave on Saturday. The show is good, as always. There is a fellow from Holland who has been fundraising for the orphanage since 2008. He and 4 other fellows are attending the dance, but they are waited on as they will arrive late. I sit in the sparse audience, and I keep getting little flickers of a smile or a furtive wave. The ASPARA dance is serene, and emotions are not to be shown to the audience. When the dancing finishes an hour later, I say my goodbyes and leave for the walk back.
I walk past my hotel and continue into town - less than 2 k's in all. At last - street food! Danielle didn't go for this culinary treat!!!! There are little fires of hard wood embers burning with fish, chicken and unidentified tasty treats. There is corn on the cob, dumplings stuffed with spicy treats. Waffles, poured thin on a hot pan while you wait, and spread with chocolate or fruit and cream. There are bowls of salad and steamy pungent soups and stews. I choose a barbecued chicken for a buck. It is brushed with spices and put back over the hot coals so that it is piping hot when it is put into a banana leaf and handed over with a small package of hot sauce. I've waited all week - but it is worth the wait. I nibble at the spicy little bones and wander along through the music and the noises on pub street. This really is the life! There is time to sip a beer and to watch the crowds before heading back home.
Ducks and tongue and chicken's feet! What to eat???
Fish and chicken roasting on hot coals. I like the look of a half chicken, and my man obliges, adding a bit more spicy sauce and turning it carefully.
My supper arrives, steaming hot and in a banana leaf. Don't you hate it when it is presented with the chicken foot sticking out?
Chicken in banana leaf for supper.
I have decided to browse the market once again. It is interesting to see the wide assortment and juxtaposition of goods, and one way to spend an hour relaxing before heading back home to the Riverside Hotel.
Little woven baskets and sewn goods.
Such an assortment of fabrics - silk, cotton, bamboo, and of course polyester.
I didn't expect to find Mr Piggy here either - I had wandered over into the food market, which was closing for the night.
Paintings were often displayed, six or eight deep.
A little basket shop with an eclectic collection of merchandise.
On my walk home, I always pass a small workshop where a man makes and sells these shrines.