Update From the Capons

Dear family and friends,

It’s hard to believe that we have been back for a month without communicating. Sorry about that, time just flies when you are having fun!
I guess the first week was spent looking at new apartments and then moving in. Geoff’s language tutor had been very diligent and kind, looking at several possibilities for us before we returned. So after arriving here on a Sunday evening, he was keen to show us what he had found at 8 am on Monday morning! We managed to stall him till 9 am!!
I am ashamed to say that we were not expecting a great deal from him as the living conditions that they find acceptable are different from ours! So we also had booked some time with an estate agent. But surprise – one of the apartments that Vany had found was by far the best, whereas the agents places were all too expensive. Vany was very pleased that we chose the one he found because he received one months rent because he introduced us. That is a lot of money for a khmer worker.
Anyway it is very nice, same price as our old one but much nicer. It is still top floor – 66 steep steps – but nice enclosed kitchen with built in cupboards!! Quite spacious, two large bedrooms, both with ensuites, aircon etc. So we are feeling very blessed.
So moving took up most of the first week, settling in etc. Slowly unpacked our boxes and made the place look like home. Grand children’s pictures on the walls etc.
So then back to work, with plenty to catch up on. In particular, I have been developing and writing a Soft Skills Handbook – usually called Life Skills in Australia. Just all those extra things that parents used to teach, but now worldwide are being forgotten. And of course here they are missing because of losing a vital educated generation.
Last week, someone that used to be important in government – about the third in importance – died and so a national holiday was declared ( nothing unusual!). Flags were to be flown at one- third mast!! So that made last weekend a long weekend so we decided to take off and see another part of Cambodia. We went to a lovely place called Kracheh. Not all that far but 5 and a half hours by bus (slow roads!) Kracheh is known as a place to see Dolphins and we were able to hire kayaks and paddle to the place where they swim. It was quite hard work – we kayaked 12 km! But the Dolphins were worth it all. That was a half day activity, so in the afternoon, Geoff and I took the ferry over the Mekong to an island close by and hired bikes and rode around. Unfortunately the thunderstorm came as we were almost half way, and the path had changed from concrete to dirt, so it was very slippery and boggy! Geoff managed to stop OK, so I thought I would have a break to, but my thongs slid out and I fell over for a mud bath!! Including the bike, now thick with mud. You just had to laugh. It kind of helped that workers in the nearby field were laughing too. They came to our aid but we’re very amused. What’s more I did it again further round the track! So we were a good sight when we arrived back. Fortunately the bike hire lady had given up in the rain and gone home, so we left our muddy bikes with the others and went back to the ferry getting many stares and laughs and much finger pointing.
We stayed at a lovely guest house which was run as a training place. Just delightful to see the young people learning skills and gaining employment. It cost all of $10 per night for the double room! We heard that one of the young guys who had been trained there had just been granted a scholarship to do further training in New Zealand.
We have been watching the demolition of one of the original wooden houses. It is across the road from us and as we are high up we are getting a good view. Quite a large team of young guys working there, but all by hand with sledge hammers and all the rubble picked up by hand and thrown onto trucks. So time consuming!! And such hard work in the hot sun. But all the timber and iron was saved and carefully loaded onto trucks to be used somewhere else. Not a piece of machinery to be seen.
Our good friend, Michelle arrived on Friday, so it was great meeting her and having her stay here. She will be very busy here, catching up with all the people who love her so dearly.
My goal was to make sure I at least wrote something this weekend as we are starting part-time language study at a language school, 2 afternoons a week, which will mean that all our spare time from now should be devoted to study!
So that about all the news. No more holidays until September – how will we cope!!
The settling in was so much smoother this time – in fact it felt more like coming home. We have been so blessed and feel the grace of God all the time. Please just pray for our memories as we get into more heavy language study! And for all our projects here in Cambodia which are constantly battling the enemy. Many of the children in our schools come from very difficult families and backgrounds, and many kids go through some very stressful times. Our local social workers are over worked and need constant prayer. Fortunately we have a good support team for them but there are always challenges.
Lots of love and fond memories of our time in Australia,
Geoff and Shirley xxxxxx
Capons6