Friday, 30 November 2007
Friday, 23 November 2007
Waiting time ...
So much river water means that the boys just have to have fun. There are (at my count) 65 blokes aboard each waka. Today was initial heats. Like different swimming strokes, there were a couple of different stroke styles in the heats - waka-paddle style upright on your knees, and another style of standing and rowing forward - pushing on the paddles.
On the Tonle Sap River - taken from upstairs in the FCC
Praying for God's little champion, Bophal, at the 'Centre of Peace' orphanage
River of Life Church in Waitara will be sending out a team next year - so that has made Pete's time here even more valuable. As for Kerry, he shall certainly return!
Friday, 16 November 2007
Child-friendly height: the new servery
Friday, 9 November 2007
Today I had been asked by Pastor Kakada to speak at a church seminar. I picked up Heng, who has been working for Mark and Jo in their admin office this year, to be translator and headed 8km or so north.
Heng (left), Pastor Kakada (right) over the lunch table.
The kitchen is a little basic. 150kg of firewood go thru the 'stoves' every month. There is no servery and the cook is hotter than a pig on a spit in her daily work.
Patrick and Bophal in the kitchen (above) and the fire stoves (top)
Bophal is a treasure. I asked her to consider what she would like the kitchen to become; talk it over with the cook and I would be back in 2 days. They had plans drawn up - an L-shaped servery; two gas cookers - simple but great. Now she is getting a couple of quotes and we'll get the job done - dedicated to a fine kiwi couple who put some $ from a property sale into blessing children in Cambodia.
I had in mind to get Donald Scott and his two sons, from Christchurch, to put this together when they arrive here next month. However, the concrete-built benches and tile tops are not really a hammer and 4-inch nail job. The boys will be thrown into English classes instead - and I'll get Donald wrapping Christmas pressies for 65 little ones :-)
Wednesday, 7 November 2007
Frank comes from Perth (too!) - supported out of Riverview Church there. He heads up 'Hagar Catering' - the catering arm of Hagar (Hagar is also involved with a soya-milk business, abused wife rescue/support, sexually exploited children rescue/support and other areas). In the four years since he arrived here, this man has become a legend.
Frank is firstly a heck of a nice bloke. He's a gentleman and a godly man. He's such a softy, that when a moto guy pulled a knife on him and 'requested' the contents of his wallet, Frank's first reaction was to quickly lift his arm. Moto man and moto go splat to the ground. Feeling terrible, Frank leans over, picks the guy up, brushes him off, picks the moto up and apologises! Still feeling bad, he goes and confesses his random violence to his pastor!
Four years ago, Hagar had a dishevelled training program for hospitality. They had no expertise, no manager and no way of achieving their desire of job creation for the poor. A guy talked to Frank about the woes of Hagar's hospitality training. Within 15 minutes, in a Perth restaurant, Frank said 'OK, I'll go over'.
Since then, Frank pruned everything back to ground zero, set in training procedures and started tendering for cleaning and catering contracts. Today, Hagar Catering has an annual turnover of $1million - a phenomenal amount in this country. Frank operates from his knees (4am riser 'I'm coming, dad!') and is hugely wise, professional and funny!! He has got contracts for catering and cleaning, from clothing factories to the American embassy; from fancy hotels to schools. Further, a couple of years back he set up a restaurant - two levels and outdoor garden area. Hagar Restaurant does a great lunch buffet; sets high standards wherever you look and has the happiest staff in town.
In all of this, the poor are trained, employed, professionally developed and given a future. One of his problems is the amount of head-hunting of his staff he is experiencing. Businesses want to get his people - they are so good. In every challenge and difficulty (often multiple per day) Frank is an example of a man who knows where his help comes from.
I love this guy. He is the business mentor in the weekly small-group I am in (I'm the 'pastoral mentor'). Few people in life have so inspired and blessed me as young Frank.
For stories, Frank is without peer. Take his stint in Papua New Guinea for example. 'You have to be very careful with your instructions to the folk over there' he says. Like the time he carefully explained - 'see the rubbish on the ground there. Pick the rubbish up. Put it all on the truck. When all the rubbish is on the truck, take it to the dump and burn it'. Instructions were followed to the letter. By the time he got wind that all was not well, he turned up at the dump to find the fire just about burned out - rubbish, truck, the lot ...
Don and Pat - my new cooks!
They are brave battlers, these folk. Pat recently did a face-dive down a flight of stairs and Don had a week of back-pain agony before getting on the plane out here. With 20 steps up to their floor, Pat is 'back on the horse' so to speak.
Their space is pretty well set up, with a good size bedroom and then a large open room to themselves. Don got a fridge and the cane table sorted yesterday ... well, he paid, I sorted. The fridge was fun - one metre of fridge tied onto the back of my moto and navigating home from Central Market - a decent 20-minute run from the other side of town. Fridge, Spider and rider all good!
All going well, Pat and Don are with us until January - when they return to Perth for their 50th wedding anniversary. Sue and I ticked over 30 years on Monday. These guys make us feel young!
Friday, 2 November 2007
In the process of setting up - neighbourhood wedding venue
Riding your moto through streets that are two-thirds blocked with the wedding reception is just part of every-day experience here. Better still, riding around a block because the wedding reception has filled the street is just as likely ...
3. Gifts - could not be easier. Money. The envelope is opened with you present.
4. Who pays - interesting. Everyone would be the short answer. The man pays his in-laws for his future wife. Prices are negotiable. A lovely guy in the church here needs to come up with US$3000. A white boy marrying a local girl is up for a $60,000 house for his inlaws to hand her over. David Collins, look and learn ...
It appears a little fluid - inlaws can pay, or the young couple can pay for the reception etc. Which, hopefully, the guests cover. The trick is to invite the right guests. One of our friends got an invite to a wedding from people whom he had never met.
5. Love - distressingly optional. The right family, social considerations and the like are paramount. Young folk we know a little who are now engaged are out of favour with her parents. He is 'below her' - the former man she knew, the guy who beat her up, was much more suitable. She should not have broken it off with him.