18 December, 2015

Whirlwind trip!

I just returned from a whirlwind trip to New Zealand.  I was financially sponsored to go there by an amazing woman who wanted me to have the opportunity to do a bit of relaxation in her native country, but also to share my Wat Opot world with others.  I was able to meet up with other New Zealanders that have volunteered their time at Wat Opot, those like others, have been drawn back time and again for reasons of the heart. 


Fiona opened her home to Kate (who flew in from the US and made NZ the first of her 6 month volunteer/vacation stops around the world) and I.  After arriving the morning of the 31st of November, Fiona drove me around to see the damage/restoration of the city from the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch.  We had the day to kill before picking up Kate that evening.  

The next few days were spent catching up on each other's lives; relaxing in and around Fiona's home, traveling across the harbour and busing it to nearby sights.  It had been 5 years since we were all together; having met at Wat Opot Children's Home in 2010.  


 Two fundraisers had been lined up, one by Jena in Christchurch and the other by Josh in Dunedin, and together they raised more than $500 for Wat Opot!  We also sold some jewelry, artwork and books.  Here's a photo with me and Alistair, the proud new owner of a bracelet created by Nak.

Josh organized a quiz night at one of his local hangouts and although our team came in, ahem...last, we still enjoyed the evening.

In between talks, Fiona took us all over in her Van (a.k.a. The Waka).  

In no specific order, here's some amazing photos from my time there.

Lake Wakatipo

Lake Pukaki
  

off Otira George Road


Lake Wanaka


Lake Takapo


Clay Cliffs


Lyttelton


View from Fiona's living room


Trying to keep in my lane, while driving outside my comfort zone; on the opposite side of the road in the opposite side of the car!
 

Arthur's Pass
                  

  Ahuriri River      


An unexpected hail storm in Oamaru
           


Goofing around in Queenstown (and then a nice shot)



I believe I can fly (over Clay Stream Scenic Reserve)

Castle Hill Rocks



This trip would not have been possible for me without the support of friends and especially Wayne, who held down the fort while I was away.  Although I had a wonderful time, Wat Opot was never far from my heart.  I feel honored to have been able to visit such a beautiful country and can only hope I get the chance again!

26 November, 2015

Both sides now.

Ipod shuffle lent my ears a song I have not heard (or didn't pay attention while listening previously).  I'm not even sure where I picked up Joni Mitchell songs, but I had to play this one numerous times as for some reason it really hit home with me at this moment in my life.  Googling (Merriam-Webster says "googling" is indeed now a word) the lyrics proved even more relevant to my state of mind.

Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I've looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's cloud illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show
You leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care, don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It's love's illusions I recall
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say "I love you" right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I've changed
Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now 
From win and lose and still somehow 
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

I've looked at life from both sides now 
From up and down and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all



24 October, 2015

In remembrance of...

I met Doug Lilly in Washington, DC.  Because of him, I am where I am today. 

As Doug and I became friends I confided in him my desire to live overseas again, that I was working in DC in order to make money to ‘go back out there’.   He then told me about his work on the Board of the Douglas A Campbell Foundation (DACF) and how he could arrange for me to meet the Buddhist Nun who runs the foundation, Mujin, when she comes to the US.  From there it all seemed a bit surreal.  All of a sudden I was changing my plans from Africa to Southeast Asia (Doug said he wouldn’t even consider sending me anywhere else!)  and realizing I would be able to pocket all my hard earned savings because a 10K grant was at my feet.

I like the way I met Doug, on Match.com and only because he lied about his age!  He had posted his age as 45 (about 7 years younger than he was).  He was upfront about it at our first meeting for coffee that fateful morning.  When I asked why he lied, he challenged me with the question of whether I would have contacted him if he hadn't.  And I had to admit that no, I would not have asked him out if I thought he was 10 years older than me.

Although helping me get a grant meant that I would leave DC, Doug didn’t hesitate to help me realize my dreams.  I was able to meet his father, before he passed away in 2009, and his mother and brothers (and their families).  Such wonderful people!

With Doug’s support the DACF continued to financially support me and Wat Opot Chidlren’s community.  First with our Volunteer Dorm, then with a TukTuk, Preschool renovation and lastly the new Girls Dorm, where I live.  Just a few months ago, Doug emailed asking what the DACF could do for me.  He was that kind of guy.

Doug Lilley passed away recently, way way way to soon. His friendship and emotional support to me and the DACF’s financial support to the Wat Opot Children’s Community will forever be in my heart.

You are missed dearly and my heart goes out to your family.  

Your kindness has traveled far.


Photo courtesy of Timothy Rockwood from Doug's FaceBook Page – this is the Doug I will always remember.

27 September, 2015

Day trips to Phnom Penh


I have been taking a few of the kids into Phnom Penh with me when I have to go in to pick up supplies.  It’s partially because I feel better having someone who can translate if needed and also just for company.  That week I took Srey Nak, Venot and Somnang in with me, as well as Thy.  Thy was moving to the city to enroll in a cooking trade school.  First stop was at Li Shishi, the restaurant Pisei runs.

The kids right away wanted to order hamburgers, french fries and coke.  Now coke is available to them in the village, but none of them had ever had a hamburger before.  They know Papa Wayne loves to eat them, so they all said they wanted to eat a hamburger like Papa.  I told them that they were like a bunch of American kids instead of Cambodian Kids.  The burgers had a bun, then egg, then burger, then bacon and lettuce, onion and tomatoes.  With the exception of Somnang (who had earlier insisted that he would not get full if he doesn't have rice with his meal) cleaned their plate! 

They weren't sure how to eat it until I cut in half for them and showed them how to pick it up with their hands.  They were laughing at eating it that way but all managed, except for Somnang, who choose to eat his in layers starting with the bun.  They were giggling the whole time and kept saying that it was soo good!

Next was taking Thy to his school.  It was hard for me to walk away leaving him there with his clothes and bicycle.  In good hands, but seemingly alone.  We still have older boys (16 years or so) such as Thy who just wasn't going to pass high school and opted for a trade school instead.  I'm not as close to the boys although we see each other every day.  Most call me Melinda instead of Mommy, but when I was ready to leave him, Thy looked at me and said "goodbye mommy".  I gave him a quick hug and said I would visit when I'm in the city next and had to turn away so he wouldn't see my red eyes.  

I was thankful the others were waiting for me in the van so I wouldn't cry.  If I had been alone in the city, not sure I would have been successful in holding back the emotional tears.

Well our next stop was Orussey Market.  A huge multi-story mess!  It's the local Costo in a way, as you can get wholesale prices on the items we needed such as toiletries and blankets, it's a also a place to get wooden beads for our jewelry.

I'm sure there's a method to the madness, or at least an understanding, I just do not have access to either.  Booth after booth of everything you could possibly need and then some shoved together in a mis-matched sort of way.  The staircases are lined with people selling food items in case you need some gastronomic energy.

Multiple floors with multiple staircases and about 50 entrances around the whole bottom floor. 


The van dropped us off as he went to try to find somewhere to park. I knew the toiletries were a couple floors up so we headed that way with Somnang leading the way.  We turn this way and that and squeezed through this aisle and that one.  I gave up trying to figure out how to get back out and just followed blindly.  

Well after finding the shampoo/soap stall we went to town financially, so to speak, and bought a couple hundred dollars’ worth of toiletries.  That may not sound like much, but at about 50 cents a bar of soap and .75 for a small bottle of shampoo, it was A LOT!  I told my three helpers that they could pick something out for themselves for being such good helpers and getting me good deals.  Well, Somnang walked right over and picked up a medium size bottle of shampoo and said timidly “Can I get this”.  It is a more expensive brand and one they ALWAYS advertise about on TV.  I said “Sure”, and he had such a big smile on his face.  The two girls had a much harder time though.  Basket after bucket after row of girly stuff: nail polish, hair bows, makeup, everything a female could possibly want.  Ten minutes later I was almost finished with my list and they still hadn’t made up their mind.  I told them to wrap it up, we have to move on and finally they found some skin lotion and so I paid for everything and told the lady to box it all up and we would come back for it.

We then wandered around which seemed like forever, taking a detour through the food area and stinky fresh(?) fish area.  I spotted a mosquito net hanging above a stall and said, go towards that.  We had finally found a stall that had inexpensive blankets (about $1.25 each instead of the $3 ones we were finding) and promptly made the lady’s day by telling her I wanted 50 of them.

Standing in front of those market stalls is like walking into a Walmart, you keep seeing things you forgot you 'needed'.  So in addition to the blankets, we bought mosquito nets, wash cloths, a couple of good throw rugs for the café and then some cool small rugs for the playroom, which had road designs on them.  I then paid for that stuff and told her to box it up and we would be back.  Then it was back to the first shop.  

It’s times like these when I wish I had my non-directionally challenged friend Sandy with me.  Sandy could find her way in a foreign place so much better than I could, even though I was technically the well -traveled one.  Luckily the kids were not as confused by all the seemingly similar stalls and they headed back up a floor and without much trouble, found the shop.  In the market place, there are guys that just walk around with a dolly (or trolley, depending where you are from) whose business is to cart things to your vehicle (for 50 cents).  

The shampoo shop had one such man waiting for us and he took off with us in tow.  As he walked in the opposite direction I had somewhat memorized, I looked back at where we had come like we had just missed the last train home.  He was moving to the far end of the large market where there is a ramp to wheel the supplies down and eventually came out of some portal as if we were on another planet.  I had no idea where in the world we were, no idea of where our van driver was and absolutely no idea where the blanket shop was.

I finally told Somnang to have the dolly man take us to the main entrance where there is a huge “ORUSSEY MARKET” sign. 



Once there, I hesitantly left Somnang there with the large boxes and went back into market hell with the girls.  Somnang assured me that he would be fine and not to worry.  It wasn’t that I was worried for his safety, it’s not like he was going to get kidnapped or robbed, but it was scary thinking I would not find my way back to him!  Blah blah blah, a thousand hours later the girls and I found our way back to the blanket stall after a 4 second (which seemed like forever) scare when I thought I had lost them!  I froze when I didn’t hear them behind me and turned to confirm the fact they were not there.  

I remember me and my brother loosing my mom in a large department store called "Davids" in Wichita.  No problem for young resourceful Melinda - I promptly went to the service desk and to Mom's horror, had her paged.  Something like "Carolyn Lies, can you please report to the Service Desk to retrieve  your lost children." was blasted a couple of times throughout the entire store. She was so embarrassed as really we weren't gone that long and ran fast to 'retrieve' us, not out of relief, but so they wouldn't blare her seemingly irresponsible parenting ability again.  Orussey Market has no such means for finding lost children...I gained my composure and looked around and saw that they were leaning over a railing, smartly looking down to see if they could see anything they recognized.



The thing is, we had the receipt from the stall.  A receipt that clearly stated stall number and area.  12B 61,62,63.  BUT, anyone we showed it to gave us the same look I was giving them.  They would point in a direction and grunt.  We would head in that direction and then hand it to another and they would point in another direction.  It’s not like we were numerically challenged; the stalls just were not logically numbered.  We would find 7B and then keep heading as the numbers got higher, we would then see 10C…I figured they were somehow lettered by what kind of item they carried.  


Just sheer luck led us to a stall labeled 12B 55.  Venot yelled “look” and we kind of cheered and started to run to it.  

...Then the lights went out.  Yep, a power outage which is common, but usually you do not realize it in Phnom Penh, because there are generators in every business and restaurant.  Orussey could not possibly have enough generators to light the place, so people just flip on flash lights and continue about.  I groped for the girls and told them to hang onto my pants as I searched for my phone in my bag.  I flipped on the tiny light on my phone to guide us.    

But then Srey Nak, said "No, the other way", as the next stall was 12B 53.  We turned laughing and were so happy to find our blanket lady finally!  With instructions to another dolly man, to find the main entrance we were on our way back to Somnang! Then the lights came on!  YEA! I kept thinking that Somnang would be scared, but his extended family has taken him to Thailand and other places, so he is one of the more traveled of our kids and wasn’t worried at all. 

After giving him a hug, I handed him my phone to tell the driver where to meet us and I was never so happy to see that white van pull up!  The kids inquired about the beading wire and craft supplies on the list, but I was just so emotionally and mentally exhausted, I said “another time”.  Only one more stop at a “western” supermarket and then we would head home.  

At the supermarket, I picked up a few food supplies and when we exited the store, the escalator in the mall  caught the girls eye.  They had never seen one and were giggling with excitement.  They deposited the grocery bags at my feet and walked tentatively over to it.  Somnang went up with ease and Venot finally jumped onto the first step as I was cracking up watching.  Srey Nak was so scared to get on, she was kind of scream-laughing as Venot moved further and further away from her.  I jogged over and gave her a  gentle push from behind and she yelled as she landed on the first step.  I ran back to the groceries as she turned around to see what had happened.  Coming back down was easier for her but she was still giggling as we grabbed a bite to eat for the ride home…

In the van, Venot poked me and with a radiant grin on her face said to me “I am so happy”.  I said “You are”? and she said “Yes, I am happy I come to Phnom Penh, I have a good day”.  Srey Nak followed suit and all the craziness, worrying, and exhaustion and mental fatigue melted away as I hugged her and said I was happy to have been able to bring her. 

I am a human who wants other humans to feel good.  That day, I made a little girl happy, there’s really not much more in this life I could ask for.

21 September, 2015

Sunday trip to the market

I remember when going to the market was easy, a no-brainer.  When I first arrived at Wat Opot, I went to the marketalthough I was a little wary of what to expect.  Nowadays, I am the one who drives the kids to the market on Sundays so the ones that have saved up their allowance can splurge their pennies. 


It's usually a pretty basic process...you get in the truck, load it up with kids and volunteers, drive there, pick up stuff, drive back.  Unpredictable things are bound to happen, like my Belize town trip years ago, and as incidents like that happen more and more you somehow learn to accept them as minor bumps in the road of life.

Our white truck which was donated over 10 years ago from Doctors Without Borders finally bit the dust and just when Wayne and I were discusing the idea of buying a vehicle, we received a donated truck earlier this year.  After a few minor repairs (more is needed, but it is fine for now) I am now mobile again.  Well the unpredictable happened the other day.  We planned our usual Sunday trip to the market so the kids who have saved up at least 10,000 Riel ($2.50USD) can spend their hard earned cash.  Two young German volunteers joined us and with a large list myself, we headed in. 

I didn’t even get out the gate when one of the kids yelled that we had a flat tire.  It wasn’t really flat but certainly in need of air.  We stopped at a gas station to air it up and was told they didn’t have air.  After a blank look and a shake of my head, I then said, well, okay, I do need gas while we are here.  The lady said they didn’t have any gas.  This time my look was no so blank, more of a ‘what the hell’ kind of look.  Not having air in a gas station is not convenient, but I can accept things are not the same everywhere in the world, but really?  No gas?  

We drove on and saw a motorcycle shop on the side of the road, but their air pressure tank was not strong enough for a truck, but he pointed down the road to another place.  I unloaded everyone to wait for me there and armed with one translating kid, I drove down the road in search of air.  About ½ kilometer down the road, there it was.  A mechanic who fixes large trucks.  He aired the tired for a mere 1,000 Riel (25 cents) and we drove back for the others.  All loaded up we stopped at the next gas station, one with actual gas this time.  One of our boys, MakPhan said ‘do you need gas’ and I said yes.  The man asked him a question and then MakPhan turned to me and said again, “gas?”  Swallowing my initial reaction of “No, I drove my truck up to the gas pump because I want a hamburger and fries”, I replied nicely “yes I want 20 in gas and gave MakPhan a 20 dollar bill.”



The man handed the kids change and I was confused as to why $20 in gas paid for with a 20 dollar bill would warrant change, when one of the volunteers said, “He gave you 20 liters instead of 20 dollars’ worth.  I am sure I mumbled something about the incompetence of the young man who filled up my tank…and then proceeded to drive away.  About ½ way to the market the truck just didn’t feel right.  It’s something only the driver can feel, and not really anything describable , but just that it didn’t feel right.  I went another kilometer and then pulled over thinking the tire was low again.  I kept asking Josh if he felt anything strange and he said he didn’t, so I just thought it was in my mind.  I hadn’t driven the truck in a couple weeks and maybe I was just feeling things.



Well just as we got to the local market, the truck died.  I was able to coast into a parking place and tried to start the truck again.  After a few tries it started, but then died again.  I was thinking what could it be and then for some reason, I thought maybe the guy put the wrong gas in it.  The truck is a diesel.  The volunteers smelled the gas tank and said it definitely did not smell like diesel.  I was dumbfounded.  DIESEL is written right on the tank as well as on the back of the truck.  Even if you do not speak English, the word English word Diesel is prominently displayed on both the vehicle and on the gas pump and as a pumper of gas, that should have been in your first lesson.

Upon further questioning, come to find out when the man asked for a second time “Gas?” MakPhan answered with the Khmer word for Gas instead of the Khmer word for Diesel.  I’ve been driving in Cambodia for 5 years now and not once was I ever asked what kind of gas, it’s a given that if your gas tank is labeled DIESEL than there’s a 100% chance that you should put DIESEL fuel into the tank.  Pumping Gas 101.

Having never experienced this, I was lucky the volunteers knew that the more you drive it, or the more the wrong gas gets into the engine the worse the damage will be, maybe even causing the demise of our little green truck!  I called Channa, one of our Khmer staff and told him the problem.  He came on his motorcycle about 20 minutes later to figure out what to do. 

Meanwhile, back at the market…the kids went and bought a few things, but with the truck out of commission and not knowing how we would get home, I didn’t want to buy anything from my large list of supplies, so we just hung around by the truck.  After a while I saw some little stools for sale in the Bpi Pawn Pram or 2500 riel (63 cents) shop – Cambodia’s equivalent or the USA’s “Dollar Store.  I bought 8 of them so at least we could sit down.  The kids ran about teasing the volunteers and just doing what kids do when stuck with nothing to do.  Finally Channa arrived and said he called someone who would tow the poor truck to a shop that could drain the gas tank.  I had to look at the one bright side of the situation and was thankful that the gas pumping dufus who put the wrong gas in also mistakenly put in a lesser amount since it was soon to be drained out.


So we waited and talked, and waited and laughed, and waited and whined and finally I saw a large truck full of supplies and some men pull close to us and I recognized the driver. 


I told the volunteers, ‘that’s our tow truck’ and after an initial ‘no way’ reaction, they realized it was true.  Now I knew there would not be a proper tow truck come to our rescue, but I was not expecting that!  I was then informed that I would have to ‘drive’ the truck behind the larger model AND all the kids should jump in the back of the green truck so we could be on our way.  Shaking my head as I got behind the wheel and praying the extremely large rope pulling us would not snap, I took the truck out of gear and we slowly made our way down the highway.  Luckily Leon had his camera with us to capture this challenging experience…


Once the truck was safely in the truck hospital to get its stomach pumped, we were then instructed to, of course, jump onto the back of the much larger truck so they could bring us home. 



It was fun actually standing in the large truck’s bed with the wind in our hair.  When they turned down the dirt road that leads to Wat Opot a man in the back of the truck yelled “lop lop lop lop” or something like that and all the kids ducked, so I ducked too.  Well Josh wasn’t paying attention and a low hanging tree branch whipped him in the face which brought about WHOOPS of laughter as much from the previously quiet men as from our rambunctious kids. We pulled into Wat Opot with all the kids running to see what the big truck would bring and to their surprise it was us!  With many questions answered and $5 paid to the truck driver we walked about a little in a daze from the whole ordeal.

Our little green truck came home from the hospital a day later a little cleaner and feeling much better.  



05 September, 2015

Little Peanut

New Addition Update!

Little Peanut (as we started calling him) has found a new home with our handy man Mr. Pheab.  He's a great guy and Peanut will have a very nice home.  Here's a few photo's of Peanut before he moved right down the road. :-)



Bye bye Peanut, we enjoyed watching you grow!

10 July, 2015

New addition...

The other day I was looking down the path at Wat Opot and saw something that looked like a really weird cat!  It was smallish and just didn't look right.  I 'barked' which makes our dogs Ben and Lucy, look around to see what they should chase off the property. 

Well, Lucy ran off towards the gate, and right past the animal!  One of the boys laughed and said it's really a ghost animal.  I decided to walk down there and see what it was and came upon the saddest little creature imaginable.  It looked like an anorexic rat!  But it wasn’t, it was a puppy that had not been taken care of in a long time.  He was sitting in our small pond and I just couldn't believe how awful it looked. 

I tried to get him to come out and he was just shaking.  I told Rortana to run and get some food for him. I tried to keep him on the property, as he was trying to run through the gates. 

He wouldn’t eat the food and just wanted to leave.  I finally let him go and went back and asked the kids if they knew who he belonged to.  Come to find out he was the 5th grade teacher’s dog and he didn’t want him anymore so he dumped him at the Wat (temple) next door.


I ranted a bit to the kids about the bad teacher who let an animal get so bad and then just dumped him off.  Not a very good human!  The kids said that the puppy hangs out at the school so I sent some of the kids to the school with animal carrier and they came back with him.  He was friendly to the kids, but understandably wary of adults.


I was not prepared to see him up close.  He had about 30 tics on each ear!  They were in layers unlike anything I had seen before.  It reminded me of barnacles on a whale.  I called the animal welfare clinic PPAWS to see if they could take him and they were out of the office.  I have some mange liquid for dogs and they said if I put that on him, everything will come off.  Well come off it did!  The tics started crawling everywhere and the kids were trying to kill them until finally I wrapped the dog in a towel and sprayed Raid all over the area to kill the tics.  I was tempted to spray the dog!  I put the dog down and there were tics crawling all over my skirt.  I sprayed my skirt with Raid and just thought “this is crazy!” 



I put the dog down and let him run off and went to shower.  The dog kept his distance, but stayed on the property.  He had to have known I was trying to help and not trying to kill him.  The next couple of days we fed him and as he slowly trusted me I was able to give him another bath.  A few days later, we took him into the city to PPAWS and they gave him his shots, de-wormed him and clean him up more.  They estimated him to be about 4 months old.




He’s back here on an antibiotic and I’m applying loads of climbOn crème all over him.  He’s looking so much better and is starting to play with Ben and Lucy.  He will be ready for adoption once he’s a little fatter and much cuter!

UPDATE:  A few days later and he's really looking good!  I love how he holds his head up high now!



He's fattening up nicely and taking his med's like a champ.  He's doing so well, that I can't get him to sit still for a photo.  But it seems the word got out...that Melinda is a sucker for strays.  Look who showed up and is making herself at home. But, I'm not buying the whole "feed me I'm homeless" bit on her.  I think she just wanted a little rubbin' behind the ears and perhaps a cooler place to sleep. 








If it’s not stray dogs, it’s pigs!

02 May, 2015

happenings...

Wow, over 2 months since my last post.  I guess once my leg healed, I jumped right back into life as I knew it.  We had received 3 little ones (2, 3 and 6) late last year and 3 more last week.  Five boys and 1 girl...not the best odds!

The 3 from last year have a mother who is herself an orphan.  She married an older man and when he died his family took everything from her (home and belongings) so she was forced to go to work leaving her kids with her brother-in-law and his wife.  The children were abused by their aunt and the desperate mother found us and brought the kids here.  She is working in the city and comes to visit often.  The kids immediately fit in and there was no adjustment period.  A sign that they felt safe here, maybe for the first time in a long time.  

The mother had to come back the day after she dropped them off to bring us some paperwork and the 6 yr. old boy hid from her, afraid she would take him back to the aunt.  We (and she) assured him he was here to stay.  When she comes back to visit (usually for a night or two) the kids stay with her in a little one room house on the property.  They are a family and when she leaves, they wave good-bye and adjust nicely back into their routine.  She is doing well, and the so are the kids.

The 3 little one who came recently are a handful!  But that's usual for some rambunctious young ( 4, 5 and 7) boys.  They are an exceptional case as the 5 yr. old is HIV+ and has medical resistant TB.  We are not sure if the father took off or is dead, but their HIV+ mother is in the hospital with the same MRD TB and not expected to live.  The boys were with an elderly grandmother until the 5 yr. old got sick and she couldn't care for them anymore.  The 4 and 7 year old were brought to a children's home while the 5 yr. old was taken to the hospital.

He was there because of his resistance to the usual TB drugs, therefore he requires an injection of medicine every morning.  Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) (Doctors without Borders) has TB clinics in Cambodia and the 5 year old was one of their patients.  They found out about Wat Opot and sent a doctor and nurse out to check us out.  During Wayne's infamous tour, they were amazed at our facility.  It didn't take long for them to figure out that the medical issues of the 5 yr. old would be addressed as well as our acceptance of all 3 of the brothers, so they would no longer be separated.  AND the 2 older boys on Monday will go to school for the first time in their lives.  

The 5 yr. old is not sickly and did not need to be in a hospital, but was there because there was no one to administer the daily shots to him.  MSF was very happy to find a place for this very active rambunctious boy.  The nurse that accompanied the boys here talked about having to chase him each day in order to take his medicine and shots; it's evident in his actions here, that it was all a game.  




He has no problem with the actual taking of the medicine (9 pills in the morning - 3 in the evening) or receiving the shot, but I'm sure it was great fun to have grown ups chase you around and do everything to persuade you to do something.  What POWER he yielded in his small frame!

He's quickly learning that Wayne and I don't play those games.  He ran in and out of the room, laughed and played around as Wayne waited it out.  Finally he allowed Wayne to give him his first shot and he watched the needle go into his leg and kind of laughed when the medicine was going in.  No pain, all a game.  We'll see if I'll be able to stomach giving him the shots when Wayne goes to the US next month...we'll see.

Oh and I cut my hair all off!  It's so hot now and I was just ready for a change.  It's not the best hair shot, since the girls had beautified me with about 25 little ponytails...they were not real fun to get out, but it's an average night in the girls dorm.