Of Finances & Floating Villages

One day in February, we (Matt’s, Mike’s, and our family) piled onto the truck and headed for a village (of which I know not the name) about an hour from here to take a boat ride tour of the floating village. Well, the village wasn’t really floating…we were doing the floating. It is called a floating village though, because when rainy season rolls around the houses are very nearly floating since the water level rises so much. I’ll let pictures tell most of the story today.

If you would rather view the pictures in a slideshow format, just click on one and you can see the larger files and descriptions.


We floated up the river all the way to a lake called Tonle Sap. I was amazed when we got there – the river widened into a huge body of water. The captain took us out a little ways, and it felt just like being out on the ocean. The water just blended into the horizon. 

On the way back down the river we stopped at a riverside restaurant. It wasn’t just any riverside restaurant though…the labyrinth support system was mind boggling. The restaurant was all outdoors and from the main platform there was a long, winding pathway built way up. We walked for probably ten minutes until we came to an abrupt end. The long poles were in place for a continued walk, but it’s not done yet. I saw a big structure out beside the lake with poles like those and I think the completed pathway will go all the way to the lake. All in all, it’s a charming little place, and sometime for a special occasion I’d love to go eat there. =)

On the way home we pulled over beside the dirt road to have our picnic lunch. There was a big field right beside us, and after the children’s tummies were satisfied they played some rousing games of tag. Eventually they convinced Jasmine to join them. I was feeling pretty content just sitting there watching, but seeing how much fun they were having I decided I could play for a little too. And wow – it felt GREAT to run around and let some of my inner kid out again. =) No one was quite ready to leave when Matt announced that it was time to head home. But we were all tired and ready for a good shower and soft bed when we got home.

You know the Kingdom Focused Finances series – “Charting a Course In Your Youth”, “The Other Side of the Wall”, “Going Til You’re Gone”…? Gary Miller, the author of those books, ‘stopped in’ for a few days. The men took him out to different villages so that he could talk with the villagers about their financial situations, and when they came home they’d sit around and hash it all out. I read “Charting a Course” awhile ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, so it made it even more interesting to listen in. Gary has all sorts of interesting stories, and one evening he gave a presentation on different financial aid programs he is involved in. Dad and Matt are pretty excited about using the concepts outlined in “The Other Side of the Wall” and the “SALT” program in their developing well-followup program.

One Saturday dad and the boys ‘dug up a garden’. We still haven’t planted anything, but dad is enjoying reading about what grows best here. He is wanting to find good, hardy produce for some of the villagers to raise. He has always loved gardening and I think it’s exciting that he can use that hobby and talent to benefit the villagers.

One Sunday Pastor Samuel and his wife Ruth joined us for the church service and Sunday dinner. I guess he was pretty impressed with the brownies we served for dessert, because he started asking Dad about what was in them, and if they were hard to make…and “Do you think you could teach me how to make them?”. He wants to teach some of the ladies in his village how to make them so they can take them to the temples to sell. So dad asked me if I could teach him how. Sure. So one day the next week he came over and we had a lesson in baking. There were lots of eager taste testers around when the finished product came out of the oven. And they were pretty good too! =) He came again, this time with the recipe I had give him mostly memorized. This time he did it mostly by himself, and I tried to keep my mouth shut as much as possible. He did really well, and I’m excited to see how the project will all work out.

The other night mom and dad were in bed…Dad had already drifted off to sleep when mom, to her dismay, heard something moving around the room. She woke dad, but he thought it was just the curtains. Mom kept hearing it though, and finally said, “There IS something in this room!” So dad got up and turned on the light, and right away mom spied him – a monstor gecko perched up on the tray ceiling. We are pretty used to geckos living with us, and have even come to appreciate their appetite for the mosquitos that also like to share our residence. But little geckos – certainly not twelve inchers like this one. So dad got Ryan and together they tried to chase him out, but the silly thing just ran back against the edge of the wall between the ‘ceilings’. So they prayed he wouldn’t fall on them during the night and eventually went to sleep. Last night mom heard him again. Dad whipped his flashlight out, and sure enough, there he was crawling along the wall. I happened to come downstairs to get something right about that time…and oh, shiver me timbers…He was big! Dad got me to go get Ryan, who was out of bed in a flash, and I grabbed my camera. And what a lively chase followed. Ryan found some darts and shot him at almost point blank range. We figured he’d be dead fast. But no…this was one hard-headed lizard, and all the darts did was hurt him enough to make him quite mad. Dad went at him with a broom to try to chase him to another part of the room, and the hisses and growls that came out of him made Dad, Ryan, and I all jump. Finally Ryan got the mango picker and dad managed to get the angry gecko into the net. They took him outside then, and there he met his end. Mom was quite relieved to have him out of her bedroom to say the least.

So far we have thoroughly enjoyed our time here. One of our struggles though has been our health. It seems even the tiniest scratches and bites can quickly turn into big festering sores. If you look at the color of the tap water it’s easy to guess what’s causing the infections. Dallas and Heather have sores all over their arms and legs that started out as mosquito bites and turned into scab-covered pus pockets. Probably the biggest reason for those taking so long to heal is that they just can’t seem to keep their fingers from picking at the sores. Carissa’s little toe swelled up for no apparent reason the other day, and it was painful for her to walk on it. Dad eventually decided it needed to be drained, and had to do it again later. The swelling has gone down, but this evening the top layer of skin just peeled off and brought the toenail with it. We’ve also been battling upset stomachs and sore throats. In fact, that’s probably the biggest reason I’m finally getting an update written – judging from my swollen tonsils and blistered throat and the meds the pharmacist gave me I think I have tonsillitis. It is nice to have a reason to sit around and get things like this done…but I’m quite ready to feel like myself again. Mom was sick Sunday, and now Alaina’s running a fever. All that is not to complain…It just makes me more thankful for the health I am usually blessed with. Hopefully soon we’ll build up an immunity to the ‘bad stuff’ around us.

All our health difficulties seem pretty small though, when I think about my dear little Khmer ‘niece’. Sen and Mum’s little girl Naomi has been in and out of the hospital ever since we got here. It seems like asthma. Often during the night she has trouble breathing and the doctor’s finally gave an inhaler for her so they don’t have to take her in whenever she has an attack. She caught a flu bug that was going around, and then some other sicknesses, and it seems like whenever she gets over one thing and is starting to be normal again, she catches something else. Dear Mum is so discouraged about it, though she tries to just trust God with her problems. Join us in prayer that she could get stronger and gain weight like she needs to, and for strength for Sen and Mum as they get weary of the battle.

Well, I was going to tell you about the new English class Luke, Veasna, and I are teaching, but I think I have written enough for now. I’ll try to write about that soon, then maybe it won’t get so long. =P You all have a wonderful Monday!