Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another One of the Good Guys Gone

Yesterday Harmon Killebrew passed away in Phoenix.

I met Harmon in Vero Beach at Dodgertown in 1988. I was a 40 year old wannabe old timer who was going to Fantasy Baseball Camp to play ball with 14 Hall of Fame players.

My first day at camp we found our uniforms hanging in the locker room and no one could withstand the draw of the field. We suited up and started a pick-up game. When my turn came to bat I couldn’t have gotten a hit if I stood in front of the ball. I heard a chuckle and turned around to find, to my mortification, Harmon Killebrew, Duke Snyder, and Frank Robinson watching me fan the catcher.

I tossed my bat in the air, and red faced, slunk from the plate. The Duke gave me some tips, and I did OK. Harmon was there every day watching me play and always had a good word for me and the other ‘campers’.

He was a true gentleman. One of the greatest hitters who ever played the game, he never came across as anything other than a regular guy. He was as interested in our backgrounds as we were in his stories.

I haven’t played ball since then, but I keep a picture of me and the Hall of Famers on my desk at home. And every time I watch a ball game I think of the joy Harmon and the others brought to a bunch of men who could only dream of doing what they did day in day out.

My deepest sympathies go to Harmon’s family and all the baseball players around the world who will no longer get the chance to share a moment or two with this truly remarkable man.

Babu in the Jungle

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Helping a Friend

Our good friend Sim Sao has a sister in law suffering from elephantiasis. She is going to Battambang Emergency Hospital tomorrow for some surgeries to her hand. Her entire family (10) came with her last month for the evaluation. Emergency offered to perform the surgeries for free, but she needed to have it done very soon.

She came back today. She and Sao will go check her in tomorrow and the surgeries will be performed next week. We will go to Battambang to check on her in a few days.

After her recuperation and therapy she can go home to her village near Kampong Cham.

We are all chipping in to help with the family costs of getting her here the first time (very scary for her) and to help with her recuperation after she returns home.

She's had the problem for a long time, but through the help of some good people here we found a doctor at Emergency who was happy to help.

A good story for a change.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

UPdate From the Jungle

It has been a very very long time since I have updated this blog, and I apologize to those of you who have chastised me for not keeping it current.

We've added a Facebook page for the Museum/Relief Center and for CSHD, and been updating that rather than the blog. But many of you do not do Facebook, so I will attempt to keep this site updated on a more regular basis.

It has been a busy 4 months. We've nearly completed our Tinkle Fund projects.

The first toilet block was finished in April and the second is in construction now.

The school stairs - The Stairs from Angkow Wat were demolished by the kids and replaced with modern wide stairs that everone can use.

We added a roof to the school building. It has helped keep the sun out of the windows and we no longer have leaks from the flat roof.

We are bulding a parking structure for the vehicles we have at the Museum.

We want to start work on the playground that was delayed from earlier this year. We had a group coming to build it with us, but they had to cancel at the last minute and we haven't had the chance to plug that into the schedule.

Our solar system got hit by lightening and we got hit with a $2,000 repair bill we didn't expect, but thanks to Jackie Russell - our Angel from Hong Kong - it's all taken care of. Jackie is moving back to London this month, and we hope to be able to visit her to do a fundraiser in sunny auld England.

We now have 34 children living at the Relief Center. We plan on having 50 by the end of the year - assuming we continue to raise funds as we have in the past year.

The Museum is fast approaching financial sustainability. We currently raise enough money to cover monthly costs. Funds are raised from ticket sales, donations made at the Museum, and sales from our small shop. While tourist numbers are down substaintially since the GFC (global financial crisis) hit in 2008, they appear to be coming back. Since September, our numbers have increased over the same months a year before. That is the first time that has happened since we moved to the new location in 2007.

Our building program has been funded by donations "extra regulum" (outside the norm). We have not had to dip into operational funding for any of our building projects. And that is thanks to you!!

We have positions for 3 volunteers: 2 teach English, one to the beginning students and the other with the advanced class. We also have a staff class for an hour each day. The 3rd volunteer position is as a tour guide in the Museum. That one is very hard to fill as everyone wants to work with the kids.

Thank you all, and I will try and update this a lot more often.

Babu in the Jungle