Wednesday, June 20, 2007


As I mentioned before, Cambodia has a very young population. As a poor nation with little infrastructure, people suffer in ways that we just aren't familiar with - killing fields we read about, but the fact that people go deaf or blind due to childhood illnesses! It seems like that went out a century ago in the US.....

Lisa and I visited a school for blind and deaf in Siem Reap yesterday. It is run by Krousar Themey. Some of the kids are sent there by family, many were abandoned. They specialize in preserving Cambodian culture, so there are training programs for Khmer massage and there is an educational exhibit on the importance of Cambodia's water system, especially their great lake, the Tonle Sap.

Today we got to Phnom Penh. We had a late lunch/early dinner at the highly recommended Friends restaurant run by the Mith Samlanh charity (Khmer for "friends"). Street kids are taught skills for the hospitality industry, with some moving to Phnom Penh's (and presumably Siem Reap's) very high end hotels (while we are spending $25 a night for AC, hot water and a frig, we could have spent up to $3000 for presumably much more). The food was served Tapas style - small servings - so we tried a few things. Gourmet menu very well done. Because of the guarantees on the menu and the reputation of the place, I even ate the fresh fruit (tasted so amazing after 2 weeks staying away from most of it).

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