Down in the Dumps Deliverables
Akhum – thank-you in Khmer – to the people who recently donated to the Down in the Dumps (DITD) project: Christine, Anonymous, Carol, Sharon, Jamie. Every bit helps and the coffers are currently standing at $717.49. On the ground, we can do a lot of good with that money. By the way, the DITD budget is public information so anyone who wants to see how we spend each and every riel is welcome.
Samples from Saskatoon
I asked about perfume samples when I was buying makeup at a pharmacy in Saskatoon as I thought they would make good pressies for the women at the dump. The beauty consultant told me she didn’t have any. While checking out I told her a couple of dump stories. She got a touch misty-eyed, picked up a bag, dumped in over a hundred skin care samples, handed them to me and said “I don’t have any perfume, but you are welcome to these.”
What to do, what to do? I announced to Shawna – my niece who is a hair stylist – that “we” had a project.
Anyone who knows me is aware that whenever I use the plural pronoun it is time to duck ad dive. I made a Down in the Dumps poster and she cleared away a space in her salon for the samples and a donations jar. She reports there is over $50 and the contributions are growing. Anyone in the Watrous area is encouraged to go down to Miz Bojangles and do their bit. The night cream you buy to use there will turn into rice to eat here.
On Saturday 4 August Nick, the tuk-tuk driver, and I did a rice-run to the dump. It is the monsoon season and the people are struggling. We took 100 kg of rice, 100 tins of sardines and 42 bottles of soy sauce, for a total cost of $131.50.
On Friday 11 October 2013 Meta House is graciously hosting a fund-raising event for A New Day Cambodia (ANDC) in honour of the International Day of the Girl. The gregarious Princess Soma is the mistress-of-ceremonies. This action packed evening includes music, traditional apsara dancers from ANDC, an auction of 24 of Todd Black’s photos of girls at the dump and the first public screening of the film Girl Rising. After the documentary Tony and the Beatniks will entertain us at the bar.
Sokha –one of the nine stars of the documentary– will dance and talk about her experience of growing up at the dump. Although she has gone on to bigger and better things – speaking at a conference in New York, meeting Fist Lady Michelle Obama and learning passable Turkish – she never forgets from hence she came and how she spent her childhood as a scavenger. Tuk-tuks to transport the women and girls to the event at Meta House on 11 October have been arranged and they are excited about it. Why exclude the men? Mostly because they are useless and it is the females who are making a difference. Educate a girl and change the world. My part in this production is that I’m sort of the delegating organizer.
To get the photographic part of the production underway we did a run to the dump on Saturday 31 August. Seng Sang – our Khmer translator – bought a couple of hundred balloons and was an immediate hit with the kids.
Through him we were able to confirm that DITD is not an NGO, rather just a collection of people who donate without any administrative overhead. The people at the dump are familiar with the former, but not the latter so the fact that we aren’t with an “organization” is a touch confusing. Todd, our photographer, worked on photos for the auction. As he walked around the dump and clicked away he was twice invited for lunch. The dump people may not have much money or much food, but they share.
Srey is now attending school at the Cambodian Children’s Fund. Vichika is ever so pleased she isgoing to school and shyly asked ifI could buy her a book bag. Yes. The backpack and supplies were a personal gift, rather than a DITD expenditure. I’m delighted to have sent her packing to school.
On yet another topic, when I sent out the happy snaps of my delightful new digs I neglected to mention that pink is not my favourite colour. I got over it quickly, however, as I spend most of my time at my desk looking out over the street and into the back-end of a wat. It is curious to watch what the monks get up to with the walls. The bathroom is the size of a small USB. That said, I love the sun-drenched light and the energy of the new place.
I’ve lost the two or so kg that I accumulated while in Canada and the bruises from slip sliding away in Saskatchewan have faded so I’m back to “normal.” Insuallah.
More later, J