Friday, November 30, 2007

Evening Out

We are in the states, but wanted to post this picture. A few nights before we left Phnom Penh we all went to dinner. Not many left at the house since the last group left. Emily (right side front) left for states the day after we left. So, Bill, Marie-Claire and Doris is all that is left! We found a wonderful restaurant and had a great time. So see, if you come visit there are lots of perks! gail

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from the Northens!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Home for Holidays

We had a safe flight to Texas and enjoying Memaw's cooking! Nothing like a game of Skip-Bo to have some fun. The kids come today and we are looking forward to a wonderful time together. Have a wonderfulThanksgivng Day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

More Wedding!

When I wrote the last blog, it occured to me that your first thought was I would write about Greg's upcoming wedding! But that will be after Dec. 15! Anyway, here is a couple more pics about Vanny's wedding. The average Khmer wedding lasts all day and starts early in the morning with a walk down the street to represent guests coming to the ceremony. Everyone is carrying gifts that are provided by the bride's family. Then pretty much the rest of the day is eating and different cermonies that only the family is involved with. In the first picture, is the exchanging of the rings. The family is sitting with the groom in front of his parents and the bride in front of hers. Any other members finishing the circle. Outside, under a tent, the guests are coming and going after eating the rice soup in the second picture. Then they bring out the fruit platters (in the first pic, on the floor) and serve to the guests. The big dinner is later in the day at a local hotel. The bride's family pays for all of this along with a bride dowry to the groom's family. Vanny's family is able to pay for this more elaborate festivity. The guests give money as gifts to help defray the cost of the wedding. What is interesting is they don't really have one ceremony that the guests stay to watch which unites the bride and groom. The monk will chant blessings throughout the day, but the various ceremonies will unite the two. gail

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wedding Bells

We went to a wedding this morning at 6:30 a.m.. Yes, 6:30 a.m. The secretary of the PIP house was getting married. She is not in this picture, but Marie-Claire and some other staff members are there. It was quite an experience and I will write more next time. We are off to catch a plane to home. ! gail

Sunday, November 18, 2007

All Aboard!

It is our last day on board the ship and we are excited to begin our journey home, and yet sad to leave the work here. The people have been so great at these last few villages. They are calm and amiable and both Rick and the doctor are

seeing as many as possible. Bill and Marie-Claire have returned and will spend the next couple months helping with the ship. So we are heading home, but still some exciting things we get to do while in Phnom Penh before we leave. Stay Tuned! gail

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Watering the Fields

I caught this picture as we were sailing and again it was a humble feeling. These people work so hard for their basic needs. These two ladies are watering their fields with the two cans attached to a stick that they put over their shoulders. They dip the cans into the water and walk down the rows watering. We have seen this many times, but as I watched them walk down that log into the water, I watched with great respect. There are more farms now that we see using generators that pump water out and they can spray the fields with a hose. No doubt they are still a vast minority. Another thing is that the level of the river is as its height, so in three or four months, the river will drop 10 or 12 feet. Imagine walking down that far to get water! gail

Friday, November 16, 2007

River Landscape

One of the highlights as the ship sails from village to village is seeing the homes and land.

There are some beautiful gardens and crops that people have planted and evidently have some good knowledge and know-how. The rainy season keeps everything green and lush; it is alittle different during dry season. But as we sailed this day, we saw some wonderful sites! gail

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Arey Khsat

We pulled into Arey Khast last night along side this boat. We all curiously watched the men take the pipes and use water to move the sand from the boat to the area where they are dumping it. We see lots of these boats on the river, dredging up sand to sell, but we have never seen one move the sand onto the land. Channy was impressed that these men were Khmer. He said that most of the boats that have this business are Vietnamese. He was proud that these men had the know how and means to have this business. This sand will go to build new houses and walkways. gail

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wildlife Report

We often see wildlife along the river. Last week we spotted this big ape like creature trying to steal bananas out of a tree close to the boat! When we looked closer it was obviously non other that Wallace Randle the "Ape Man"!
Wallace and Carol are dear friends that we love very much. They have always been very supportive of us here and brought us our last dental shipment of 2X2's. They head back to Arkansas in a few days. Wallace, better watch out for animal control at the airport!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Preparing for Water Festival

We are at Sarkakeo village. This village won a division of the long boat rowing contest that is the main attraction during the Khmer Water Festival. This festival marks the end of the rainy season and thousands come to Phnom Penh to join in on the festivities. We have been watching the village men practice each morning because the festival is next week. There are 46 men in the boat along with the man in the front calling the counts. Not sure if you can see in the picture, but they have a plant and incense in the very front to show respect and for good luck. It was different having so many people come to the river for another reason besides our ship! gail

Monday, November 12, 2007

Straw Mats

The Khmer people weave a beautiful mat with many designs and colors. They use this mat primarily to sleep on, but we have seen them in various uses. As we were driving back from the ferry last week, we saw the straw drying on the sides of the road. We had to ask what it was and then we realized it was used in the mats that we see everywhere. We have seen many products drying on the roadsides; pepper, corn, fish, and some things we could not identify. But this was first time we saw this colorful stalk that is woven into beautiful products. gail

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Here they come!!! We had a boat load of Arkansans come to the ship this past weekend. From Little Rock is Bob Diles, Yvonne Davis and Wallace and Carol Randle. They attend Sylvan Hills Church of Christ. Mae Ruth Faulkner lives in Jonesboro and was bold enough to come with this group! We didn't call the Hogs this year, but we had some good laughs and great fellowship. They all have been teaching at the PIP house, but will return to the states on the 16th of this month. We love and appreciate their dedication to working with the people here. And we really appreciate them taking the time to come visit us on the Ship of Life. gail

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Loc Luk

Darith treated us with a very popular Khmer dish, Loc Luk. Now remember, when I try to write Khmer words in English letters, I don’t always do it very good. On a menu, it may be spelled different! However, it is made with sliced beef and onions set on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. And let’s not forget the rice! It is very tasty and a popular dish with the crew.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Independence Day

Today is November 9 and it is Cambodia's Independence Day celebration. The ship was positioned on the Mekong in a way that we could watch the fireworks in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. It was a very impressive production. Several children were sitting on the bank next to us, and they were clapping and yelling the whole time. Since we usually miss our July 4th fireworks, it was nice to see these. We were lucky to have moved the ship (to take on water over the weekend) to were we could see the display. The pictures I included have nothing to do with this independence from France celebration, but Rick and I made a quick trip to the Ministry of Health in Kandal province to get the schedule of our last villages that we will visit in this area. After January 18, we will go back North and work Kampong province again. We had to cross the ferry again and catch a moto to the office of the ministry leader that gives us the schedule. No flat tires this trip, and no cows on ferry! gail

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Picturesque Villages

The first picture is Tuk Khleang and it is the morning of our last day there. We were there three days and unfortunately the crowd gets bigger each day and we have to turn away more. But it had a beautiful tree for the people to wait under out of the sun. Then upon arrival of our next village, Peam Oknhaong, four little monkeys climbed the trees to greet us. This tree was next to edge of land and these kids got a close up veiw of the upper deck. We had time before dusk to go out and play jump rope with them. They were eager to join

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Guests from Texas

Troy and Tabitha Snowbarger work with the Nutrition program which we mention occasionally on the blog. This past Monday they came to visit the ship with Troy's parents, Richard and Pamela. It was a treat to have them on board. Richard and Pamela had been in Cambodia for a couple weeks and Troy kept them busy sightseeing and also teaching a few days at the school. I was glad to have them make a quick trip to see the ship and share their pictures with friends at Prestoncrest church in Dallas. It is always good to have fellow English speakers around the table to visit! gail

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Koh Keo

This is Koh Keo. We always had a mob of children playing around the gangplank. In the picture, they are standing on a heavily traveled road that is slowly eroding into the river. There was not much of a central place we would call town center and there was not a market. But mangos were plenty here and several people brought us some. They are really good when ripened just right! Most of the fruits in this area are ones we don't eat at home. I couldn't even begin to try to write in English the Khmer name. I only liked one and we would think it most like a not so ripe peach. They eat most of their local fruit with sugar mixed with red pepper. Today they were eating "jackfruit" and it has a smell that is really not so appetizing! Ha! But they love it! gail

Monday, November 05, 2007

Motos, Vans and Ferrys

We are encountering some difficulties uploading pictures on the blog, so the next few will be without. We made a quick trip to Phnom Penh over the weekend and we had an exciting adventure with transportation. It felt like the title of that movie "Trains, Planes, and Automobiles" but this would be more like "Motos, Vans, and Ferrys". With our small backpacks, we left the ship on moto to get to the ferry. We were trying to hurry and make the last one. The Mekong seems alot wider where we are now and the ferry had to make a quick stop at the island in the middle of the river for our two Brahma bulls that were riding with us. Rick and I decided to stand out front and then these two bulls came on. Immediately I moved because I saw one of them raise his tail. Yep, it was a mess, but soon the ferry moved on and had a nice breeze. The walk up to the National Hwy 1 was short and felt good after the clinic day. We would then try and wave down a passing van that would take us into the market on the edge of Phnom Penh. The first two vans that came were so full of people and boxes, but they were still thinking we could fit. Finally the third one came and it had only 21 people and we made three more. The Captain was with us. Now understand, these are 15 passenger vans. But we were happy to be in and on our way. The evening traffic was once again back up as we neared the main roads, so when we got close enough to the market, we just jumped out and hailed a motodop. They can weave in and out of the cars and when the traffic stops, the motos still go. So just picture Rick and I, with our backpacks on a moto driving through traffic chaos! Needless to say, we were glad to get to the house. The trip back was alittle better until the moto got a flat tire! Ha! Not sure if we were the cause! The van only had 7 people, so it was a comfortable ride. gail

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Cool Weather

The feeling of fall is in the air in Cambodia. Gail and I traveled to Phnom Penh this weekend for some business and are delighted at the cool temps. Now we know that they are not as cool as you are enjoying but we are thankful for the low 80's!!!! It is nice to have a little break after working 17 of the last 19 days. I will vote against working Saturdays next time we vote! ha We are enjoying visiting with some old aquaintances and some new ones. A group from North Little Rock is hear at the school and we are enjoying their company. rick

Friday, November 02, 2007


The most common mode of transportation in the countryside is bicycles. In Phnom Penh, motorbikes have taken over, but there still are many bicycles. I’m not sure if I could trust my ten-year old to bicycle my two-year old around. But it is a normal occurrence here because the parents are busy working. This mother in the one picture has tied her Kramoh, Khmer scarf, on the handle bars to make a seat for her little one. More often I see the little ones sitting behind the seat holding the waist of their sibling. gail

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Kampong Phnom

Kampong Phnom is a village set among many banana trees. The ship had trees hanging over the back where you can see the boys enjoyed watching the activity in the kitchen area. It was a little uncomfortable having the bank so close because many people would stand and at times I thought they might jump on! Unfortunately, in this village so many people came that when the doctors handed out numbers; the people got excited and started grabbing at the doctors. They had to stop and come back into the ship. We could not see as many people because of their aggressiveness. As I said before, each village is so different on how the people react. The first two days were normal, but the third got crazy.