Mekong Blue

Today I picked up a sample of the pouch we’ll be giving away to anyone who purchases 10 or more finger puppets. These are made out of beautiful silk and sewn at Mekong Blue. Mekong Blue is a great, great non-profit organization that helps communities in Stung Treng. I’d always intended to visit their production center when I lived in Ratanakiri (deep north-east of Cambodia, ST is on the way, almost) but somehow never did. Then a series of small world coincidences resulted in our connecting and working together. A couple of my friends have bought silk from Mekong Blue in the past and currently a close friend is having her wedding dress made there (actually two, but that is long story). I went with her for one of the fittings and its turns out that the owner’s daughter is one of my students! Chantha, who runs the store, and I are also connected through various other people, volunteers and consultants who worked or still work in North-Eastern Cambodia. I also really believe in their project and their work and it seemed perfect to ask them to help with small pouches for the puppets. This way I get to plug Mekong Blue and have a gorgeous little silk bag to give away. So, now you need to go the Mekong Blue website and check out their online store. Of course you don’t really have to, but if you are looking for a stunning Christmas (or other occasion) gift, their silk scarves are gorgeous. The weaving is top quality, the colours are beautiful and well worth the price. The best...

Last day of training before Water Festival

So yesterday was the 7th day of training and the last before a week long break. Today is a holiday for the 5th year anniversary of the current King’s coronation, tomorrow is a holiday for the former King’s birthday and Monday-Wednesday are off for the Water Festival. Cambodia has the most national holidays of any country in the world except for Sri Lanka. Not for me though! The knitters have come in for a couple days of sewing together finger puppets are we are way behind! The training has been going really well. One knitter has quit…. she just could not understand. She tried really hard the first week and I had really hoped she would keep fighting on, but she decided she wouldn’t be able to do it. Of the rest of the knitters, about 4 or 5 are exceptionally good and pretty much ready to start making things for us! The rest are doing really well, but still have some problems like rowing out, twisting stitches or not doing the decreases correctly. When we go back next week, we’ll focus on those that need to improve their technique and we’ll bring some plastic eyes and tapestry needles so everyone can finish what they’ve made and have some finished products to be proud of. They can give these to their children or as presents or keep or whatever they want. There are also dozens of pairs of booties around and I’m going to contact the national hospital and see if we can’t donate them to newborns from poor families. The last of the sponsored knitter photos… I think....

Short and sweet

Only one knitter photo today, down below. Still having issues finding a translator to come with me! Grr. I completely forgot to write about the donation we made last week to an orphanage on the outskirts of PP. We had a bag full of toys that were from the first round of knitting in the round and less than perfect, but still lovable and in need of love. One my students (I teach part time at an English school) invited me to join her youth group on an excursion to this orphanage. They were planning on distributing food, clothes and toys. Yeng and I didn’t have time to join the activities, but we did hand over all the monsters that we had to pass onto the little ones. It was reported the children were very happy to receive them and we are happy they have a new home. Sim Soeun sponsored by Carol O’Neil.He is the son of Kung Pisey who is pictured in an earlier...

The Dance of the Accounting Fairy

For those of you enjoying a Sunday off, I envy you. My husband, darling, has been bothering me for weeks to budget and account for everything related to CK. Today he basically forced me to do it. A Sunday afternoon spent going through receipts and trying to understand accounting software is not what I call a good time. At all. However, thanks to the accounting fairy, I now have a better grasp of what is going on and what we can do in the next few months. I gave most of the sponsored knitters photos of their sponsors on Friday. They were happy to see your faces and learn where you are from. If you haven’t sent me a photo yet (you know who you are) do it! And since there is not much more to report, I give you a slice of life in Cambodia. Below are some photos of the rural Cambodian equivalent of a 7-11. It sells everything from water, laundry detergent, canned sardines, hair accessories to shampoo, snacks and cooking gas. It’s not air-conditioned and there are no slurpies, but it’s basically the same...

One week of training down

The first week is finished and most of the knitters are already able to make an elephant puppet! I still don’t have any more information for you as the translator stood me up yesterday and I wasn’t able to collect any stories. Grr. Chan Thyda sponsored by Kasia Zygadlewicz. Kut Jan Kosal sponsored by Jocelyn Pederick. Noun Soka sponsored by Colin Alfred. Soy Srey Chan sponsored by Lynn Walma. Sok Srey Pouv sponsored by Jo-Ey Lee. Krouch Koun and Sok Srey Mao sponsored by Juan and Shelli Mosley. Yu Tra sponsored by Kylie...

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