Friday, 28 October 2011

Farewell Battambang, until next time

Tears well up in my eyes as I say farewell to some very special people who have become friends and family. Some like brothers, some like sisters some like mothers and some I wish we could have been lovers had our age gap not been so big.
To all I offer my prayer:
    For all those known and unknown:
    May the the Good Lord bless,
    the Spirit guide and direct,
    the Holy Angels guard and protect.
I sit upon the river boat for the six hour journey to Siam Reap for what I hope will be some naughty fun, reflecting on the blessings in my life; of food, family, friends, money and the tears I cry as I will miss my friends in Battambang, until we meet again one day I pray.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Battambang Homestay

My new lovely friends. I hung out with Sophorn from BOVA across the road and his family and my homestay family which had 22 people living in one house. I mostly hung out with Brother and sister Somrich and Krisna. After the five day homestay I went back to my hotel but for the weekend we spent Saturday and Sunday together with a trip to the flooded rice fields for fishing, drinking, picnic and swimming.

More info on Homestay and BOVA check out: www.battambangorphanagevillageassistance.org


My home for 5 days with 22 others. So friendly and fun.




I was more than happy to show off my sporting skills with a kick of the soccer ball.



My Bed, equipped with fan (Thank God) and mosquito net. I was comfortable and slept well

The Bathroom was simple but clean. No loo paper. I found easiest to get naked to wash after a poo. You are not looking at a bath there, that is the cistern to hold water from that you scoop out water in the bowl to poor over-yourself for your shower. Cold water only but no problem, it's too hot for a hot shower anyway.

One night I joined Sophorn and his family across the road, we ate Frog!



The monks feed this pig very well at Somroungknong Pagoda. It's I'm told 200+ KG. This one isn't for eating, what a shame, that would be one good BBQ.

Don't we all dream of this!

A day out bike riding with the girls from the homestay and BOVA

The farmers are still doing it tough from the flooding some weeks ago. As you can see some houses are still under water and many rice cropp's have been ruined.

This little (big) boy was so happy to catch the fish and his skinny mate wanted to take it from him. Very cute.
My new BOVA and homestay friends went on a picnic and swimming to the rice fields on both Sat and Sunday. So much fun
Water was too high so we had to push the tuk tuk
Don't you love swimming in fresh flood water

Farmer Jason

Fisherman Jason

We'd love to have a beer with Jason, cause Jason's me mate



English Teaching at BOVA

I've just come back from a 5 day homestay and teaching english at a newly created NGO (Non Government Organistation) that works with local families in the Somroungknong Village just out of Battambabang city. It's called Bova (Battambang Orphanage Village Assistance) Free english lessons, along with help as able with school books, uniforms, food and sponsership for poor children and orphans. Homestays is one business initiated that helps create some income for the NGO and also local families.


I found the story of Mr Sophorn who started this inspirational. He had a foreign family help him goto University, as part of his degree he did a case study on his local village and found the need and created the NGO. It's only 1 year on but they are doing a wonderful job and wish them good luck. If you'd like to help them by sponsorship or even helping buy some books or chairs etc please do!


I just loved it, the kids were so cute and responsive. We had many laughs together. I even managed to apply my computer skills and some cash in fixing a problem with their one computer. They'd love internet but can't afford it.

For more info refer BOVA website: http://www.battambangorphanagevillageassistance.org








Meditation

Last week I spent a few hours at Chicken Pagoda. A very quiet peaceful place. I was given my own small Pagoda \ Chapel. On the way there my new friend, guide and Khmer teacher Pesit had taken me via the Market so we could buy food, incense and cigarettes as gifts for the monks. There was a special ceremony which they graciously help me stumble through trying to make the least amount of cultural fopars as possible.

I hope to go back tomorrow morning before I finally leave for Siam Reap this Friday by boat.

The little temple in the middle at the top of the hill was my meditation Chapel. Guarded by the temple Dog
Reception of gifts and prayer of blessing. I assume on the food and all those present. I don't speak Khmer or Sanskrit so not sure :)

My Meditation Chapel. No Aircon or Fan :(
Friendly Temple Assistant who helped me and instructed me in meditation

Nothing like a snooze and some beers after the hard work of meditation so we stopped off at the lake for a couple of hours
This lovely side of the road shop keeper and family let us stop and take cover from the rain. So I took the opportunity to practice my Khmer language skills, with many laughs had by all present.

Around Battambong















Boys will be boys, these monks were lighting rotten bamboo gas. I smiled to myself as I walked away realizing that fopar I'd made by saying "big boom boom" not "bang bang". Over hear "boom boom" is slang for sex.  
Past 30 years locals have run bamboo trains along old railway line. When two meet, less laden one has to move off the tracks so other can pass.



All roads lead to the gift \ drink shop :)