08 August, 2017

Little Helpers

I’ve been a vegetarian for over 10 years, vegan for 2 of those.  It’s not unusual for me to say no to chicken…but it goes further than that.  When I say, “I don’t like chicken” it not only means in the gastric sense, but as a whole, I do not like chickens.  They seem like dirty nasty stupid creatures who cannot be taught.  They look dorky when they run crookedly.  They seem to have not received the memo about the quickest way from point A to point B is a straight line.

In 2014 a couple of chickens who lived at Wat Opot gave me an egg everyday hidden somewhere in my room.  That wasn’t so bad as we take care of the unwanted young regardless of where they come from.  Those chickens came in quietly left me an unborn offspring and left just as quietly.  No drama, no fuss.

In 2016 we had to rehome our dog Lucy because of her obsession with killing chickens.  Destroying the nasty fowl at Opot and in the village (for sport) was not making her any friends.  That’s actually an understatement because she had death threats out on her.

Now it’s 2017 and for the past 6 months I have dealt with chickens again…chickens and their shit!  Now I’ve written about baby shit and my frustration with it’s daily occurrence, but chicken shit is way different.  For one, the children as a general rule do not do it on the floor, nor do they poop all over the kitchen, living room, laundry room and bedroom floors of the girls dorm.  Toddlers no, chickens yes.

To make a short story long, the chickens running rampant on our property decided to roost in our storage room which is easily accessible to them by open barred windows and door.  Unbeknownst to me, they had decided to roost on top of our port-a-crib.  Our wonderful little bed that has been the night time sanctuary for quite a few over the years.

With the 1st and 2nd graders home from school for the day, I put them to work deep cleaning the bed.  But ‘work’ is a pretty flexible word around here...especially when it involved soap and a water hose.

I kept the momentum of playing with the hose going and had them clean the colorful little chairs in the girls dorm moving along the grass as not to flood one area.  Like the bed, they had no problem cleaning them.

It's an ongoing chore to keep everything in order, but with so many helpers, my job is a bit easier especially if the chore involves the hose and soap!

So, a few days later, I had nothing but volunteers when I needed to clean the mats the preschoolers sleep on.

16 June, 2017

Melinda - the Hot Hungarian Apple Fly.

Bored in Phnom Penh.

Today I had the courage to finally drive into Phnom Penh.  A roughly 1 hour & 45 minute drive down good, bad and ugly roads.  With Wat Opot's director, Dara's, encouragement we headed in because I had to take in the new formerly wild kitten, which re-homed itself in my bedroom, to the VSL Veterinary Clinic to get spayed.  Her appointment was at 9am and I have to pick up Puppy Benji, Opot's newest addition, from Animal Rescue Cambodia where he was brought after HIS vet visit to get neutered.  

It's not hard driving here, you just have to be on alert at all times.  It's getting better, but most roads do not have lines on them but even the ones that do, doesn't really mean people will abide by them.  I couldn't pinpoint what my fear was, it was just one of those 'first time' things.  Driving to the local village market is a piece of cake, watch out for people, motorcycles, dogs, large trucks coming from Vietnam and the occasional cow.  But in the city the amount of distractions is tenfold - not necessarily minus the cows.  One bonus now is that we have a durable vehicle!

We made it to the city safely, dropped off the not-so-happy kitten and I am now sitting in my favourite of all favourite of places in the city, The Backyard Cafe, and now have to kill about 5 hours.  Which is absolutely doable in this place, but I'll probably wander off in a few.  Meanwhile waiting for my food, sipping on a hot latte, I googled the name Melinda.  Why?...well, Why not?

What I found is so enlightening!  I am sure my parents pondered over and over the very best name for their third daughter...Surely so!  I mean come on, when you are going to love this child for the rest of your life, you must put deep thought into it what you will call your new bundle of joy, right?  Saying over and over "I love you our precious Melinda",  "You will be our favourite, Melinda", and so forth.  There was probably a minute thought of saying  "MELINDA KAY what have you done!!??"  Just to see how that rolls off the tongue.  Just a tiny thought, though.

Without further ado, I am not apposed to being referred to as The Hot Hungarian Apple Fly! and December 2nd will henceforth be celebrated by all!

A female Melinda sp.
Scientific classification
Type species
Musca cognata
Meigen, 1910
The name Melinda is used in English and Hungarian. In the United States, its popularity peaked in 1973 at No. 72. 
After I was born in 1968, of course everyone rushed to name their newborn after me!

Since its peak the popularity of the name Melinda has been gradually declining in the United States, to last be seen on the top 1000 list in 2002 at No. 932.
Obviously after I started to mature, parents knew their daughter could not possibly be compared to THIS Melinda, so the name is only given to the chosen few, but ONLY in the US because in 2002 it was in the top 100 names in Hungary. 

József Katona, Hungarian playwright and poet, used the name Melinda first in 1815 in his legendary historical tragedy Bánk bán.

EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN!  This awesome name has been around a long time!

In Hungary, December 2 is Melinda Day.

And the Italians got it spot on.  How about those apples!!


Melinda offers you a wide variety of apples to choose from, each one different but all with the same unique quality certified by the Melinda sticker.
Find out which one is just right for you!
A MELINDA STICKER!!!  Who wouldn't love a Melinda Sticker??  Oh and you get an apple with every purchase of of that awesome Sticker!

Take your pick!  Golden, Red, and the ever famous GALA Melinda.  

And while visiting Belgium, please stay at the Hotel in my honour.
And while in New Orleans...(I heard Melinda's hotter than donut grease!)

Well, my food has arrived, so I'll end this time-killing post with a thought...How about combining ALL these awesome Melinda ideas into one amazing place?  Entrepreneurs please inquire via email.

25 May, 2017

Dark skies are gonna clear up...

The Cambodian rainy season 'officially' goes from May to November, but the first time I visited Cambodia and volunteered at Wat Opot in July 2010 it was bone dry.  Everything was dead and brown.  Wayne emailed me when I went back to Nepal in October saying the rains had finally come.  In October. This cycle was repeated pretty much every year since with rains not starting until September or October.  One year it sprinkled on and off the whole dry season so everything stayed green and pretty.

This year is the first time I have seen hard torrential rain in May.  We posted about the sudden storm  we had here which was a bit scary – and that’s coming from a girl born and raised in Kansas!  Dorothy lied, there IS another place like home, but who would have thought it was in the Takeo Province of Cambodia?

Well the kids are loving the early rains stripping down and running full force into the cool water from the sky.  Most days it’s the only reprieve from the humid and 95f/35c degree heat and it’s almost impossible not to join in (stripping down to your skivvies optional).

Here’s a little glimpse of the fun we have most every day now.  Except for the high schoolers who have to bike home in the rain, although once they get home and dry out the contents of their backpack, they join in as well.

And in the end we are left with little soggy sasauges.