Sorry I haven't updated in a couple days. The internet has been sketchy lately.
Starting with Saturday. Mom, Abby, and I met Summer and Joanna at this cafe called Java Cafe. We each had a delicous American breakfast. Afterwards, we dropped Abby back off at the apartment and Joanna, mom and I went to the Russian Market. The Russian Market is a hot cramped enclosed market that has everything you could ever imagine. I have never been so hot in my entire life, we were all dripping sweat within the first 5 minutes we were there. Some of the isles are so small only one person can fit at a time.
We met up with Summer and Phirum (the little boy I told you guys about, I now know how to spell his name) at this resturant that had a pool. This was Phirum's fun day out, so we all jumped in the pool with him fully clothed and played some games with him. I swear, I would take this little boy home in a heartbeat.
After the pool, we went back to the apartment, took showers, then met up with Joanna and Summer at the spa. Joanna, Summer and I got foot massages and pedicures, while mom and Abby got full body massages. Definitely a relaxing night.
Yesterday (Sunday) was the best day here by far. We went to church with Summer, got some lunch, then went to the TLC center.
We have officially started the Me Book project with the girls. Summer explained to them that these books are for helping them find out about who they are as people. They are all uniquely beautiful and copying each others work will not help them find out who they are.
The first project we started with was a simple name project. We had them put their name on a piece of paper using any creative tool they wanted. For example, cutting letters out of paper, stickers, different colored markers, shapes, what their name means. The pieces of paper will go on the outside of their Me Book binder which they will keep all of their projects in. We had all the girls and Phirum spread out away from each other to work so they could have their own space and not copy their neighbor.
A side note to that, Summer explained to us that the girls may have many different names. At first we were pretty confused about that because in America your name is part of your identity. In Cambodia, your name is not so symbolic of who you are. Some of the girls have nicknames that they themselves came up with or family members came up with. Some of the girls just completely created a new name just because they liked it. It's a very strange concept.
When we first let the girls loose to start the project many were frustrated and were not sure how to begin. The art culture of Cambodia is the art is all very similar to eat other. Almost a paint by numbers aspect. So the girls have a hard time having the capacity to be creative. We were all so proud of the girls though, even with being frustrated at first, they followed the rules and stayed in their spot to brainstorm what they wanted. Finally it seemed as if many little light bulbs were going off around the room. It got unusually quiet because they were all concentrating so hard. It's the most fufilling feeling to see them be able to think outside of the box and think about themselves for once.
After each one was finished they would get our attention and proudly show their piece of work. A very sucessful project indeed. We couldn't have been more proud of them. Even Phirum finished his project, it had his name, the TLC center, a bunny rabbit named Phirum, and a lot of Ben10 stickers all over it. (Ben10 is a favorite cartoon of his) The joy they had from finishing somethin soley by themselves was infectious.
Another special memory for me was, after we had finished the project, Phirum came running up to me with a dictionary, plopped in my lap, and kept pointing to different words. For about 20 minutes I would say the word and he would say it back and then I would explain what that word meant. He sung his ABC's for me, counted to ten and spelled each number, and then it was my turn to spell words. So precious.
I got to have my first moto ride last night! Summer has a moto and Joanna and I hopped on the back with her to ride to the resturant we were meeting my mom and Abby at. My mom and Abby had to go to the clinic to get Abby's IV. Three of us, crammed on this scooter, with a purse each, zipping around the chaotic streets of Cambodia. It was so fun. Three white women defintely got a lot of stares.
We ate at this Khami resturant where you had to sit on the floor. The food was delicious and I'm pretty sure my stomach was about to explode because I ate so much.
Wow, I wrote a lot. Today we're going to S21. It was a school turned into a prison/torture chamber during the genocide here. It's now turned into a museum. It should be interesting. I'll update about it later. Oh yeah, pictures coming soon.