Day 2 (Arriving in Phnom Penh)
It’s hard to believe that in the early hours of yesterday morning we were flying out of Melbourne and away from the cold and rain (or so we thought, more of that later). To shorten a very long day of traveling; both flights were on time and relatively smooth and we landed in Cambodia in good spirits, despite the lack of sleep!
A very entertaining bus trip from the airport with Ahn, who taught us that our ‘clean’ stomachs can’t take Cambodian water and since then we have been 2 days gastro free! After naps and showers we were ready to hop into tuk tuks for the first time, we are now experienced tuk tuk travellers (except Isaac who will never live down paying $10 instead of $4), and head off to dinner. With full stomachs and a rowdy game of Articulate we were well and truly ready to get some solid sleep, and boy was it good!
Day 3 (First full day)
This morning after a breakie of fruit, veg, rice, chicken and bread we were off to see Lyn the founder of Morijana. Lyn told us of the way God called her from Gelong to Cambodia 5 years ago and eventually led her to start her ethical clothing brand and feeding program. Morijana clothes are made by women that were originally from the Red Light District in Phnom Penh, with Lyn they are given a stable job and a loving workplace that, as the women said, is like family. Everyday they start with worship and so we worshiped with them when we first got there and then heard Lyn and some of the staffs stories of how they came to where they are now.
With Lyn, the team and David (who heads up the slum feeding program) we travelled to a slum that they visit twice a week to run activities for the kids and feed them. It was amazing to see as we walked into the slum how happy both the parents and kids were to see Lyn and David, it quickly became clear that this wasn’t just a program - it was a relationship with the kids that was loving and safe. It was a joy to watch the kids interact with David and sing songs. It’s hard to see past their impoverished surroundings but the life that these kids have in them is so big and positive and not subject to their material lives, something that is good to think about.
After eating our body weight in rice and drinking it in tea we were able to purchase some of the clothes Morijana makes. All the clothes were made in the same building and were made out of lovely fabrics. Very soon the clothes will be available in Australia which is both very exciting for Morijana and us! Another exciting growth in Lyn’s business is the opening of a shop in Phnom Penh. We were set to work painting and cleaning on preparation for the opening of the shop front. Although the quality of our work was questionable, it was much appreciated and did look good. We wish Lyn all the best in the opening and expanding of their brand and look forward to purchasing more of her clothes in Melbourne!
More tuk tuks and showers later and we were off to dinner on the river front. Probably the most entertaining meals we’ve had so far! It included frog legs, a dance off and ended with us all in matching ponchos walking back to the hotel in the rain (what’s a trip overseas if at some point you aren’t all matching)!
While still in Melbourne, we wrote down multiple things that would make this trip good. Some of the things that were listed were; building of friendships, good memories and no gastro! So, by that standard it has been a great (if not busy) couple of days! Now it’s late and I’m tired, catch y’all tomorrow!
Mon (Monica Innes)
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