27 April, 2013


After meditation every evening, we give the children a snack. We usually spend around $150 a month on snacks, which isn’t too bad, considering we’re giving 50+ snacks out every night of the week.  Fruit is the best snack (and they cannot seem to get enough of!), but because of the amount we need and the shelf life of natural foods, it’s usually a pre-packaged item bought from the local market in bulk.  I never ever in my life thought I would miss seeing a Sam’s Club or Costco… 

Going to the market to buy snack is usually a big feat, where the vendors salivate as they see me walking near with comments of “Wat Opot” on their lips.  Wat Opot means lots of children which means I will buys lots of snacks which means they have the opportunity to make their daily (or weekly) quota in about an hour.

When the snacks are brought back to Wat Opot, I need help in distinguishing what is what from the receipts, because they are written in Khmer.  If there are left-over snacks from the evening meditation, we sell those in the café, so to be able to price them accordingly, I must figure out which snack costs a certain amount and then divide that amount by the number of items in the package.  I also do this to keep an itemized account of how much each snack costs so I don’t get cheated the next time while buying them – you know, supposed rich white foreigner = $$, regardless of the beat up vehicle I drive or the fact that I do not actually earn an income….

Kimseak, Sovanrith and Thy helped me open the boxes and started getting to work putting the snacks in order on the squared tile floor.  It’s a challenge for them as well since many market stall owners are close to illiterate, so they struggle to distinguish the handwriting.

Once itemized, they are put into covered bins awaiting meditation and hungry little mouths!

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