"By reaching out to and connecting with communities around the world, we learn to appreciate firsthand...our commonality...and the understandings we gain can be life-changing."—Harriet Lewis
We checked into the Angkor Paradise Hotel yesterday after a four hour bus ride from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We were greeted by staff with the traditional cold drink a cold towel. Cecile and I were captivated by the large vase of lotus flowers and a Buddha statue with hands in prayer as seen here and a young woman playing soothing local tunes on a decorative wooden xylophone.
The next day we went to Tonle Sap Lake where we rode on a water buffalo cart for 35 minutes, visiting with rice patty farmers and women who were emptying fish traps of snakefish, a common variety of fish we had for for dinner the night before. Speaking of "buffalo" the delightful couple we were fortunate to meet riding in the cart behind us is Jerry and Eileen from the Buffalo, NY.
On the way to visiting nearby floating villages by boat, our bus driver stopped so we could photograph the lotus flowers which is always a site to behold. The floating villages were absolutely fascinating. There was a laundry service, a bank, a grocery store and a Catholic Church (a small minority in these neck of the woods of a mostly Buddhist population). Of course there were an infinite variety of floating homes. We made a stop to visit one belonging to a husband and wife of over 40 years. They are essentially retired though the husband, Bou, has a crocodile farm in an under water containment pen in the back of their home that he said is a lucrative past time. his wife Ny, 64 seen here in a purple and white flower print dress with her husband and Jack, our local Siem Reap guide is a midwife. She is an amazing woman. She has successfully delivered over 100 babies in the village and is well respected. She does not charge for delivering babies. She sees it as a community service. She had a little delivery kit and demonstrated how she employs it for the benefit of her patients. She learned to deliver babies from her grandmother and did some additional training at a hospital. She is very passionate about what she does. When it was time to say goodby the husband assisted us in getting back on the boat. This is another example of the Grand Circle Foundation-the philanthropic arm of Overseas Adventure Travels (OAT) providing support to a family and in the process provide travelers to experience a day in a life of people throughout the world. In this case a bathroom facility was provided for the family. After returning to the hotel we enjoyed a little down time at the hotel pool.