Sunday, January 13, 2008

You Should Have Been There

It was wonderful to see all the people that showed up to help Aki Ra accept the certification for his Museum yesterday (Thursday).

There were officials from Phnom Penh, the Provincial Governor, the Police Chief of the district, and a lot of Aki Ra’s friends and supporters. The kids were all decked in their finest and there were speeches galore.

Thank goodness the weather was good. But then we all, dignitaries and visitors, sat under a tent, in nice comfortable chairs. It was quite formal and really very fitting for all the long hours and effort that the staff, Aki Ra, Hourt, Sanghour, Becky and Richard have put in to make this event happen.

And a photographer from Time Magazine. That was pretty cool. He’s here for a couple of weeks working with Richard.

Then we all headed into Siem Reap for a very nice lunch and a chance to get to know some of the officials who came for the ceremonies. There was an even bigger party at the Museum for the staff and kids.

After that we all took a little time off to decompress before the next big job starts.

So what did I do? I got to sit on stage and meet a few of the dignitaries. Aki Ra was kind enough to thank the LMRF for its help over the years, and I again want to thank everyone who’s contributed to support the work that we so much want to see done.

Then I went to the Funky Monkey for “Quiz Night”.

And just what is “Quiz Night” you want to know? Think of an international version of “Jeopardy” that lasts for 2 hours. And they pass the hat and raise money for a local charity. Last night they raised $225 for a school. Pretty good way to spend the evening. And you need to get there at least an hour early or you’ll never get a seat.

The Funky Monkey ( is a small bar on the riverfront in Siem Reap. Every Thursday night all the NGOs in town show up at 9pm and they play Trivial Pursuit on Steroids. The quizmaster makes up about 50 questions on a range of different subjects and off you go. You get 1-3 points for correct answers. Most of the teams got in the 20s. One group got 53. They had a history prof on the team. Those of you who know me know I usually do pretty good at this stuff. Not last night. Man I just blew. But it really was a lot of fun.

Today I stuck around town and worked on how to get CSHD registered. Can’t do it in Siem Reap. We need to go to Phnom Penh, so I went with Rich to his ‘special’ travel agent and we rented a van to take Rich, Aki Ra, Chris (the photographer), and Mr. And Mrs. Fitoussi and I to PP on Sunday. Richard, Aki and I are going to work on getting the NGO registered with the Ministry of the Interior so we can move ahead with CSHD. We plan on coming back Tuesday.

Weather is starting to get hot again. And when I say hot, I mean humid and hot. Kinda nasty but I still love Cambodia. Next time I’ll bring Jill, and it will be even better.

More tomorrow as I get time and I’ll tell you about a visit to our tuk tuk drivers village, a school they are building, and Cambodian moonshine.

Off to PP on Sunday morning and then back to Siem Reap on Tuesday.

Babu out for tonight.

Ps: Sorry for all the delays in posting. Internet connections here have been horrible with all the tourists logging on at the same time.

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