In the next 24 hours we’ll post several new blogs, so please take a look at the additional ones on Jessie in Oudong and the Graber Millers in Phnom Penh.
Lauren and Jacob M are thriving in Ba Phnom, in Prey Veang Province east of Phnom Penh. Jacob is the first Cambodia SSTer ever to live at a Buddhist wat, making his home among the 15 to 20 monks who live on the temple grounds. Jacob has his own room apart from the monks’ quarters, but he has breakfast and lunch at the wat and uses the monks’ dump shower.
Lauren lives with her Mae and Papa and with 11-year-old sister Nyka and almost 2-year-old sister Gita. Her mother is an excellent cook, and serves both Lauren and Jacob on most evenings, and also made dinner for Keith when he visited Ba Phnom on Monday and Tuesday.
Lauren and Jacob teach English to young children from 9 to 11 a.m. each weekday morning — children who have never had any English training. On the weekends, they assist Sam Ang, our local contact, in teaching high schoolers who come to the wat for part of their education. The wat contributes significantly to the local community with educational and other programs.
When they have a chance to do so, Lauren and Jacob also are teaching guitar to young people in the community. They have two guitars with them and often draw a large crowd when they play at the wat. On the weekend before Keith arrived they were able to attend Sam Ang’s last daughter’s wedding. The daughter, Dyend (The End), is the fifth of Mr. Ang’s five children, and she married a Cambodian refugee who is now a U.S. citizen.
Lauren spends nearly all day at the wat with Jacob, relaxing and reading after teaching the morning class. In the afternoons and evenings they often have many visitors, including the 11-year-old monk at the wat and other local children and teens. They are looking forward to the remaining four weeks of accompaniment in Ba Phnom.