Monday, May 4, 2015

Nepal Earthquake relief

As you are all aware Nepal suffered a devastating earthquake. The house where the orphanage is located was damaged. There is a crack in the floor and the house is leaning. It is unsafe for the kids that live there but they do not have any choice. There are still aftershocks happening which triggers their fears all over again. They are suffering from PTSD and have very little support. I have started a fundraising campaign which I will send to the mother of the house. She will determine how and where to spend the money, she is the only one that knows what their immediate needs are and what to provide for them. Please do not forget about Nepal as it seems the world media has already done. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Calling all writers

If you have been following my facebook you are aware that I am helping a Monk with his school in Cambodia. We desperately need books for the kids to read. However  buying and shipping books is very expensive. I am putting  out a call to anyone who has any inclination to write a children's book and send it to me so I can make copies. Please keep in mind these are very basic books, 4-8 pages maximum and also try to keep them as generic as possible, in other words do not use Western idioms or things that would not be relevant to their lives. With your permission I can edit the books to make them more relevant for them. You can include clip art if you like or I can add them after. The reading level should be geared by Western standards to grade 1 and 2.

please send to:

I look forward to your submissions.

I ask this humbly and respectfully from you.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Buddhist Last Rites Ceremony

On Sunday I had the great honor to attend to Buddhist Last Rites Ceremony for Song's Mother. 

It is a three day event. The preparations started at 8am, the Nuns and Layman prepared the 

flowers and flags, the incense and candles. Then at 11am the Monks arrived and were served 

lunch. Then we ate, all in the room where Mother is. There were about 30 people and it was very 

hot. The Monks then prayed and gave blessings. The ceremony is to prepare the soul to be rid 

of any bad Karma, and to ensure that no evil spirit enters the body of the dying. The experience 

was a celebration as well as a goodbye. It was moving and awesome to witness. I feel so blessed 

to have been witness to this. Enjoy the photos posted below.

lotus flower petals, candles, incense
Nuns preparing for the ceremony

The Monks making mountains from sand

there will be 100 mountains, the mountains are to protect the dying from evil spirits, they act as a barrier .

all the preparations are made,  Song tends to his Mother

the family is gathered around Mother.

there are 8 monks surrounding the Mother

a praying Nun

after a blessing the Monks spray the Holy Water on the Mother and the gathered

then the lotus petals are tossed

me hanging with the Monks after the ceremony

the ride home, 3 on a bike!!!
i will be the 3rd on this bike! we laughed the whole way home

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Life in the village

Second week in Cambodia in a small farming village. I teach school from 3:30 until 8pm, starting with the young kids 3-7 years old then gradually working up to the last class of teenagers. The young students are very challenging and sometimes I just don't have the energy to teach them, so those times are game playing times. Then around 5:30 it gets dark so the generator provides light but it flickers and fades sometimes into total darkness but we carry on. Problem with the dusk is that is brings the bugs out. Recently grasshoppers, or locust, they fly into my shirt at times and often into my face while teaching, the kids are used to it, it does not bother them, I on the other hand am constantly swatting at them. Then there are the biting ants, the tiny red ones that crawl on your feet and bite!! ouch!!
But overall the experience has been wonderful. The kids are so happy and insist on giving high five after each class, so by the end of the day I probably have received about 120 high fives, from dirty little hands and smiling little faces. It really makes it all worthwhile. The home stay is challenging also at times. I am now used to sleeping on a bamboo mat, there is no mattress, and showering with a pot with a handle on it with cold water is actually refreshing when it's 35C outside. The food in wonderful and the family always makes sure there is plenty. I am spending a lot of time with Song the monk and learning about Buddhism and life as a monk. I was very fortunate to tour his pagoda (temple) and meet the fellow monks. Last night was the full moon so all monks and nuns are required to shave their heads and eyebrows. It was quite the sight. I plan to stay for 3 more weeks as long as I can handle it.

The Cambodian people are so friendly and are always ready with a warm "Hello:.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Photos of Ankgor Wat Archaeological park

Wat Bo Temple

Cambodian School Children

kids love to pose

Entrance to Ankgor Wat

my ride!! $2 a day and $1.50 goes directly to local charity