Monday, February 25, 2008

Full of life

This weekend's Sunday outing was to Kompong Speu. In fact it was my first proper visit there, rather than just passing through en route from Sihanoukville. I'll post a lot more from my jaunt over the next few days. In the meantime, here's a photo of me with a lovely nun by the name of Reung, who was incredibly frail though came and sat with me to tell me what she knew about the genocide memorial at Wat Ampe Phnom, a few kilometres outside of Kompong Speu town and popular with the locals at weekends. Reung moved there to become a nun at the pagoda after the Khmer Rouge era from a neighbouring commune and gave me the background and history of the wat, which was used as a prison, while the riverbank area around the memorial had been the site of many burial pits, from which the remains in the stupa had been taken. She was 81 years old, her few teeth were stained red from chewing beetlenut and she was still full of life. If you visit the pagoda at the Ampe Phnom 'resort' make sure you seek out Reung for a chat.
In the bottom photo, I was joined at the Rising Sun for my Sunday dinner by my good friend Sophoin who was introducing her neice, 17 year old Phana and her nephew, 14 year old Phano to a whizz around the sights of Phnom Penh. Both of them were making their first-ever trip to the capital from their home in the rubber plantation center of Chup in Kompong Cham province and their auntie was doing the honours by moto. I was the first foreigner they'd ever spoken to and their extra English lessons came in handy, though like most Khmers in the sticks who learn English, their lack of practice is a real inhibitor. Nice kids though and I hope to see them again at a wedding in Kompong Cham in April.

LtoR: Phana, me, Phano, Sophoin

1 comment:

Wanna Khan said...

Hi Andy!
You and the nun look so exhausted in the first photo. It must be very hot there.

Anyways, is it your motobike in the background?