Sought After

And you will be called Sought After, a City Not Forsaken…

My Cambodian 2010: A Year (or 4 months) in Review

with 6 comments

So, I stink at blogging…this is common knowledge, I think.  My once-a-week goal has ended up being a once-in-four-and-a-half-months reality.  But that was last year…so let’s forgive and forget, shall we?  Rather than try to blog about everything that happened since I’ve arrived in Phnom Penh I’d like to offer you some highlights.  This blog may be a bit long, but think of it as 18 really short ones…one for each week I’ve skipped.  Enjoy.

A Reunion for the Ages

When my plane touched down in Phnom Penh on August 13, I had just one goal in mind…to see my boy!  I was picked up by a friend at the airport and we headed straight for House of Rainbow Bridge.  When Sok Leap spotted me, there was no stopping him.  He ran down the hall and threw himself into my arms, beaming the whole time.  There was a lot of hugging and smiling for both of us and I’m pretty sure there were even tears in my eyes.  As I said in my last blog , I would gladly make the entire journey again if only for that one moment!

An Island Getaway

During the Khmer holiday of Pchum Ben (October), I had the privilege of being invited on a two-day trip to Rabbit Island with a group of teachers from my Khmer school.  It included myself, my Australian friend Cate, and about 15 Khmer people.  This meant that at least 75% of the time I had no idea what people were talking about.  But it was a blast, none the less!  We ate sea food, played in the ocean, marveled at the glow-in-the-dark algae, played games and laughed a lot.  The island was beautiful and at times I felt as though I could be on LOST…

Fun and Tragedy

November in Cambodia brings the end of the rainy season and a celebration called Water Festival.  This is a 3-day event when people from all over the country flood Phnom Penh to watch boat races, fireworks and a parade of lighted boats.  I visited Water Festival each day with the orphanage, with friends and with my Khmer school.  This year on the last night of Water Festival, there was a stampede which killed over 370 people.  While I didn’t personally know anyone who died, I have friends who lost friends and family.  Everywhere you looked people were hurting and scared (fear being a major part of the Buddhist religion and the culture of Cambodia).  People set up altars outside of their homes with food and incense in hopes of appeasing the spirits that caused such a tragedy.

Christmas Cheer

Christmas is Cambodia is certainly a different experience.  Wearing shorts on Christmas Eve was a first for sure.  But that did not stop the fun.  There were orphanage dance parties, fancy meals, stockings, Christmas music and many hours Skyping with friends and family in America.  Good times.

Village Outreach

The week after Christmas some friends and I took the love of Jesus to two villages in a province near Phnom Penh.  The villages are very poor and most of the children are unable to attend school full-time.  We played games, administered basic first-aid, cut fingernails, washed hands, taught about Jesus, sang songs, made crafts and gave gifts of toys, candy, school supplies, soap, and blankets.  It was such a blessing to be able to allow these kids time to just be kids and to let them know that they are loved and valuable.  And all my years of VBS paid off, we made salvation bracelets to help them remember the truth of God’s love.

It’s Greek to Me

Well, Khmer, really.  I have been studying the Khmer (pronounced come’eye) language five days a week, two hours a day for most of my time here.  It is a challenge to be sure!  But it is well worth the time, effort and expense.  Speaking Khmer has saved me an untold amount in market and transportation bargaining, rescued my cell phone from a pick-pocket and helped me build relationship with the people of this country who I love so much.  It is not without its perils, though.  I once asked my driver (a man) what his husband’s name is, and I constantly fear saying words I would rather not translate into English because their Khmer counterparts are frighteningly close to perfectly benign words such as “corn”, “help” and “mouse”.

I do Work, I Promise

In the midst of all the fun and adventure I have been working.  I teach English in the evenings at the orphanage where Sok Leap lives.  I have six kids in my class who sometimes love to learn English and sometimes would rather stare at their desks in silence than answer my questions.  It has been an interesting experience as I have no interpreter in my classroom and my Khmer is by no means sufficient.  It has stretched me in communication and creativity and has forced my kids to decode my bad Khmer and simple English for meaning.  It’s an adventure every day…for all of us.

You Ate What?!

Since I always get asked this question, here it is…a list of things I’ve eaten since my arrival and brief review of each.

  • Whole Fried Frog: Really tasty and really fun, like tiny little chicken legs.
  • Baby Duck Egg (Egg with baby duck inside): Didn’t taste too bad, but seeing the head and beak inside makes it a bit of a challenge to get through.
  • Tarantula:  Had this on the World Race as well.  Not bad at all.  Kind of crunchy and mesquite.
  • Crickets: Crunchy and they sometimes come with a delicious dipping sauce.
  • Grub Worm: Don’t remember the taste, but the texture did not agree with me.
  • Snake: I could take it or leave it.
  • Eel: Delicious!  Watch out for the bones!

I hope this gives you a little better idea of my time in Phnom Penh.  I make no promise of blogging each week, but I promise to try harder to communicate with you what is happening here and how you can be praying.  Thanks so much for your prayers and support!



Written by stephndavis

January 6, 2011 at 2:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. Hooray!!! I’m so glad you blogged, you’re a great writer by the way.
    Also glad that you didn’t translate corn, help or mouse 🙂
    Love you Steph!


    January 6, 2011 at 12:24 pm

  2. Stephanie,

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and blessings from the US. I often think of you and how you are doing in your ministry and the works of the LORD that you are doing every day. I pray for you and miss you. I am so happy that GOD blessed me to meet you during my lifetime. I am so,so happy to know how GOD is working through people like you. I wish you well and loved the update. I am not sure I loved the food listing that you have eaten,especially about the bird inside, OMG… LOL.. I look forward to reading more updates soon. GOD BLESS Melissa Calloway

    Melissa Calloway

    January 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm

  3. Loved your blog. You should really write more, you’re great at it! Everything was super clear and lovely to read. Anyway, I miss your face and am so happy that you’re following the LORD wherever he takes you. He’s got BIG things for you Steph Davis and I can’t wait to hear/see/know about them.
    Love you
    Please don’t take my advice and take money from orphans (whatever that means)

    Franki Girl

    January 6, 2011 at 10:05 pm

  4. I enjoyed reading this!!! I can’t wait to read it to Isaac…especially the eating snake part!!!:). You have always been a great writer!!! Keep up the good blogging!!!:)


    January 15, 2011 at 1:48 am

  5. Keep up the good work! Trying to get better at checking the email so understand the problem with writing! 🙂

    Deb and Vicki

    April 1, 2011 at 10:33 am

  6. hello, I just want to say that I feel so happy when I see your blog.
    I am a University student from Hong Kong and went to Cambodia this year (26/5-6/6)
    I went to the Rainbow Bridge for doing some service. And I am so impressed to see the boy in your photo.
    I just know his name and search for it over the Internet, then I see your blog.
    It is so great to see his smile and your blog here.
    Thank you for letting me know God’s love and blessing. Thank you :)!


    June 17, 2012 at 9:36 am

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