Sunday, July 6, 2014


I've finally got a fancy phone. One that can email and do all that stuff so hopefully now we can communicate with the outside a little better. Our house has not too bad reception so when we get to move there life will be simple. Right now i am sitting at the house waiting for clothes to be washed by our washing machine. I wish I knew how to wash each days clothes, each day, as they do here but i don't, or rather i am too lazy. So now i sit with some spare minutes attempting to type a post here with this tiny keyboard.

We have visitors at the moment. Alex who came to help out in December and January came back with two friends. They, along with our other family and friends helped raise funds to do a small water and sanitation project. About four thousand plus dollars was raised altogether and the guys are helping to install latrines and rainwater tanks. They put up two and a half on Thursday and Friday. If it wasn't for the rain it would have been three.

The rain is also causing outher complications as the village is deviod of people. This year has been a really dry year. It is just the beginning of the rice growing season and people have been waiting and waiting for enough rain to plough their fields. Then they start the rice seedlings and they normally let them grow for about 20 to 30 days before transplanting. They should be finished transplanting by now but some are still ploughing and growing the seedlings.

So unfortunately we don't have all the households who want atrines lined up ready to go. The people do want them but most are just a tad busy at the moment. Having the guys there and with the attention a bunch of foreigners usually draw, is helping to promote the things in a positive way. More updates on the latrines later. And thanks to all the family and friends who donated money to this little cause. There were about three latrines put in earlier and they look great... clean and nice with all the things you need to keep them that way. So your help is much appreciated and we could not have done anything without your help.

We went for a walk yesterday. The girls, David and I went only to the temple and back. David has bung knees so wisely didn't choose to go on the "Ben hike" with the other guys who kept going, after the temple. We came back and on the way spotted a cute baby green viper on the trail. Further along there was a troop of languars heading down the valley. These guys have been hanging around lately. I saw them near the house site and heard them in the trees just before their bedtime. They have a distinct piglike grunt. A couple of weeks earlier we saw another troop of them and in amongst them was sitting a male gibbon. I didn't think he was anything but a black bit of vine but zooming in could make out what he was and he was staring right at us so casually. I believe his picture is in my previous posting where i didn't have time to write anything.

The other guys hike was just a bit longer, at 20 km through a rainstorm and over and afound the mountain.

So that is a short update from us here in the forest. We are still living out of our boxes in a mess. We still have a forest and hoe toilet but we are getting by and really looking forward to moving into our house someday... walls and floor... walls and floor to go!

posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I wrote this up in early April on my tablet but had not had the chance to get it online and so just now am posting it (June 19!)... so things are not all as they were.

Well we have almost moved completely to the forest. Bar the house and about 40 deer, we can now call Phnom Tnout our address. The girls and I spent the end of March and beginning of April in Phnom Penh finishing up some homeschooling stuff, running errands and getting our full of friends and civilisation in for a while.

Then we arrived home to Rovieng and the next day quickly did some marketing and final packing of stuff and headed out to the forest again. We met our friends, Tim and Wendy and 26 youth leaders from SALT centre on the road bogged. They were coming out to the mountain for a leadership training/retreat (and service project) and their truck was bogged in just a bit of mud. Another truck pulled them out and they parked the truck back in the village, and headed out in Ben's truck.

This group was a wonderful group to have. They brought all their own food, own camping materials, own everything and we didn't have to do anything except enjoy their company and singing. They also spent their afternoons and a good part of the final day clearing hiking trail for us. Thursday we said goodbye, and Ben took them back to their truck and he headed back to Rovieng with Amelie. Our dog Reecy had gotten herself lost and so Amelie was anxious to look for her. Ben picked up our friend Savuth, visiting from NZ, also in Rovieng and they all arrived back in the forest that night.

Today, Saturday, which is our Sabbath, our much needed Sabbath, we went for a morning hike. This time of year makes for wonderful hiking. The trees have leafed back out after the winter. The ground is clear as the grass has either been burned or has not yet grown back. It has started to rain and so it can even be cool. Today was cool-ish. Before we left, Jarrah spotted what she thought was a civit cat in the tree near the house. It was actually a giant black squirrel who allowed Ben and Amelie to get a good look at him. They are huge squirrels and quite gorgeous . We took a bad picture of him with the sun in the wrong spot. Heading out there were quite a few birds. I really do need to learn to be a better birder. What I did see however were parrots - the red breasted parakeets, woodpeckers of various kinds, lapwings who were really mad at us, a roller, jungle fowl and maybe some other guys who I can't remember. We saw lots of tracks of banteng and Ben tried to explain the difference between banteng tracks and regular cow tracks. Apparently they are bigger and less rounded than a cows, with a slightly pointed end. we also heard the gibbons hooting and hooting on the mountain. I took lots of pictures of the flowers and interesting things I saw on the trail. Much easier than the moving things.

Cooked our first forest pizza for lunch. Then in the late afternoon Ben, Savuth and Amelie went up to the hidden temple. I didn't go and naturally they saw no less than four separate troops of languars. I don`t know that I am ever going to see these guys. Tim was lucky and saw a gibbon this week and some others in the group saw the languars - so in all, a pretty good wildlife week.

On the hand, the loggers were still out and about, so not a good week for the trees. Today we saw a section of about five cut Neang Nuon trees (dalbergia, a now very rare type of rosewood) and various other trees felled around the place. The heartwood is tiny, like ten centimeters in diameter making it not too useful but the price is $1200 per cubit metre at the village which is significant I guess. Sad, sad, sad. A tnong had been chopped at but it looks like they got lazy and wanted to come back with a chainsaw. Thinking of tying monk robes around the trees to scare people into not cutting them down.

So we are calling ourselves moved. Our house is due out this week after Khmer New Years if our truck friend can haul it for us and if it doesn't rain too badly before now and then. It is still up and needs to come down! I haven`t done any washing for about 4 weeks worth of Ben's clothes so if you imagine a corner of workclothes in our house that are practically standing up by themselves, that is what our house is looking like. I have my washing machine at the house site (1.2 km away from our temporary house) where the generator and the good water source is, but it is out in the open. I shall have to take the stinky clothes out there this week and do about 10 loads. Or maybe they can walk over themselves since they already can stand up by themselves. Also need to get Amelie back on track with schoolwork. It has been a long time with a lot of free play - some structure is needed but I sure it won't be appreciated! So a busy week ahead - we'll see how we go with things.

By the way, the dog turned up at the gate about two full days later. She had been slightly injured by some wood falling on her and so ran off to hide . We are so happy she is OK.

PS.  We had Reecy out at the forest for a week and she got "taken" by hunters we assume as she followed Ben up the road when he was going to the village one day. Now we are very very sad again.  See this post
posted from Bloggeroid


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday and Wednesday

Well the rain that started on Monday night continued and Tuesday was the coldest Cambodian December day I can ever remember.  Everytime I looked at the thermometer it said 20 degrees but I think maybe it is broken.  We woke up and it was absolutely freezing.  I dug out all our warm clothes and found some fleecy lined pants and a warm coat to wear which I didn’t take off all day long.  Amelie shivered through her school work and Jarrah was lucky enough to be able to curl up on the bed under blankets with some audio stories.  They were happy because in digging out the warm clothes, they found their monkey and unicorn costumes which don’t really work well here most of the year because it is too hot to wear them.  So they enjoyed wearing those all day long. 



After a lunch of lentil and pasta stew, we noticed some heavy walking on the roof – heavier than the normal squirrel steps.  Looking through the skylight we could see monkey feet on the roof.  It was stumpy – the one without the tail who had got loose.  Luckily she is the nicest of all our monkeys. A call to Ung, our guard and he came back early from lunch.  Although she wouldn’t let herself get caught.  We eventually gave up and as it was so cold, I suggested that we snuggle up with a movie.  So we spent the afternoon watching Free Willy 3 which I have never seen, and I quite enjoyed it.  The monkey got herself tangled in a branch at about 5pm and we were able to relax a little. 


After and dinner of leftovers we were lucky to have a hot shower (thanks Jo and Angus!).  We loaded up my bed with all our blankets.  Jarrah had put herself to sleep already so Amelie and I were able to read.  Jarrah complains when we try to read with lights on after she is trying to get to sleep.  It was freezing.  It was nice having Jarrah in my bed because she is a little hot water bottle.  As it was I had to find some thick socks to wear.  Amelie read most of Doctor Dolittle (again) and I was reading a book by Joni Eareakson Tada (sp??) and Ken Tada (the quadriplegic lady and her husband).  Amelie finished up Doctor Dolittle today.  She is becoming quite a reader – getting that can’t-put-down-a-book problem.  Jarrah is also enjoying her letter learning.  She has a few on her belt and is pretty motivated at the moment.  I’m trying to slow her down!


This morning, it must have warmed up.  I was actually able to get out of bed without too much effort.  Left the kids in bed reading and went for a 30 minute jog.  It takes me 30 minutes (actually 32 min, 25 sec) to run about 4.3 km.  That is a terrible time.  But I figure it is better than not doing anything. Came home, made breakfast of fried rice and cocoa for everyone.  Amelie did her chores and we started school at 8.30 am.  We have been trialling this new schedule with conditions.  She has to stay at the dining table and we work solidly till 11.30 – 12.00 and we are done except for the fun school which we can do in the afternoon.  So mornings we open with Bible from 8am to 8.30.  Then maths for an hour.  English for 1.5 hours and review stuff till 11.30 or so.  Afternoons we can do History, Science, Art, Music whatever.  This has been working pretty well.  Except Amelie freaked today about the solid page of maths problems she had to work through.  Once that was finished, we were happy again.  Not allowing her to go to the bed to work on schoolwork seems to have helped get things done faster.  She gets so distracted – anywhere actually, but I can keep better tabs on her at the dining table. 


This afternoon, I had to run into town so left them home with Pu Ung.  They were hard at teaching Jarrah how to ride her bike.  And by the time I got back from the market, we had a little bike rider.  The ball field is a great place to learn and she can now ride all over the place.  She is so proud of herself.  She only just started riding her bike.  We had put Amelie’s little bike away and never got it out till just at the end of November, when our friends with little kids came to visit and wanted to ride bikes.  So we fixed the tyres and pedals but didn’t put the training wheels on.  She learned in three weeks – not bad.  Oh, and while at the market, I got my hair washed.  It was getting a bit grungy after not washing it – it has been so cold at night time, I haven’t had the will power to wash it.  So paid someone 75c to wash it for me.  Nice.


And that has been our Tuesday and Wednesday for this week.




Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Our Monday

I thought I might write a short diary of our day to day life, to record for posterity!  So I can remember a bit about our life here in Rovieng before we move.  So I’ll start as of yesterday – Monday, 16 December.


Woke up at about 6 am with the roosters and hens.  The roosters actually start their jobs from about 5 am I think (or anytime during the night) but I am used to them now such that they don’t bother me until 6 when ALL the chickens (ALL 100 or so) start their morning routine.


Ben has been home over the weekend but will be leaving for the forest this morning.  I wait for the pitter patting of little feet coming to tell me they are hungry or that they didn’t wet their nappies (yes, still in nappies – I still have hope they will cease to be needed by the time she is 12 or so).  The whole family find their way to my bed and soon the “I”m hungry” cries force me out of bed.  This morning I need to go to the market to get the bunny trakuen (gazun-u-eh, or water convolvulus) – the bunny eats a lot and I end up having to go to the market every two days for greens.  Have worked out that we can keep a good supply in buckets of water and they don’t get withered so that has helped some. 


Oh, the night before it rained.  It has been dry season for over a month now and so rains are not expected.  I washed clothes the previous day and since I had to wait for Ben so that he could use the generator at the same time, I couldn’t get them finished till about lunch time – losing half my day of sun.  So by the end of the day, the clothes were not dry and so I didn’t bother to take them off the line.  That night it rained. Of course.  Because it is the one time for many months that I have left my clothes on the line overnight.


So the hungry one and I get up and head out to the market on the motorbike.  Because of the rain it is all muddy at the market.  We get a few snacks.  I found some fat bananas at the banana lady stand halfway to the market.  At the market, we get some waffles, some fresh bread and some leaves.  Lots of leaves.  A rice bag full of leaves.  We get some apples and some nice mandarins.  These are great at the moment, all from China no doubt but delicious.  We head home like an overloaded donkey. 


Ben is organising to leave.  Our house is a mess.  It is supposed to be a school day so once Ben leaves for his forest, the girls and I start to clean up.  I give up on school for the morning and we tidy and clean the house instead.  I really can’t function when our house is too messy.  By lunch we are pretty much done.  We eat.  I made a sort of Tom Yum soup with potatoes and carrots and beans.  I wanted it to be a Tom Kha but we have no coconut milk (and no chicken since Kha means chicken).  The girls ate it pretty well – seemed to enjoy it more than me.  We then spent the afternoon reviewing our memory work for our homeschooling program we are attending.  Amelie has tentatively decided to go for “memory master” which means she needs to recite ALL the information that we have covered throughout the 24 weeks of classes we have been attending (and not attending, in our case).  She has an amazing memory so I’m glad she has taken this opportunity to stretch herself.  She needs to work on her times tables and some of her English stuff but otherwise it is pretty much all there.  We get in one hour of maths work before it is dark.  I then tell the girls to clean their room.  This was not done in the morning and a lot of the junk cleaned out of my section of the house was dumped in their room.  And so for the next two hours you can hear me saying, “Are you done?” With more and more junk getting dumped on the floor as they decide to go through each of their toy boxes and organise.  I’m not sure if it is well organise and I hear them playing right now in the room so maybe it will look just as bad again tonight. 


While the cleanup is happening, I fry some potatoes and warm up the leftover Tom Yum.  It rains.  Finally they are done after I go in and intervene a little.  We eat dinner and then find out our water has run out.  Forgot to pump.  No problems.  We just can’t have baths or wash the dishes.  It is getting cold and we didn’t get too dirty.  The girls try to have a spit bath with a sponge and a bucket of cold, leafy brown rainwater.  I decline.  Teeth and Bed.  I get them to sleep in their cozy, tidy bedroom (usually when Ben is not here they pile into my bed).  So I get to go to sleep by myself with a book.  It rains again.   So much for dry season.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What we have learned

In 1789 the French Revolution began when citizens stormed the Bastille and fought for the declaration of the rights of man.  Later during the reign of terror the aristocrats heads were removed by the guillotine. 


This is a little bit of memory work the girls have been learning as part of our history studies.  They have learned a giant timeline from Creation to the current day.  And then they have short history sentences for a selection of these historical events.  So, the French Revolution is one of these events selected to remember.  The program we are using has put these to catchy tunes and this one in particular is very sticky in your mind.  So all day we have in our heads, “Later during the reign of terror, the aristocrats head were removed by the guillotine.”


We were discussing this reign of terror when Robespierre was in charge of “taking care” of the monarchy.  Jarrah then asks me, if that man was a “guilladine,” responsible for removing the heads of the “aristocats.”


So Jarrah has been memorising all this time, “.. the aristocats heads were removed by the guilladines.”


I then explained what a guillotine is.


Isn’t it fun studying history!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Almost a Family Photo

Here are some recent pictures of the family on our recent trip to the forest, without me since I was taking the pictures and when I tried to get a family one, the only spot to perch the camera was very precarious.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Animals All Over

Here is a little composition Amelie wanted to share – it is inspired by the book, There’s a Possum in the House, by Kiersten Jensen and Tony Oliver.  And it isn’t so far from the truth.


By Amelie Davis


“There’s a peacock on the bed and he poo-ed on the pillow.”

“Oh! No!” yelled mum.

“Clean it up!” yelled Jarrah

“OK,” growled dad.


“I stepped in the poo!  Where is the poo picker-upper?” Amelie yelled.

“Get him NOW!” she screamed.


“There’s a myna in the house and he stole my toy coin!” Amelie said.  “Get the trap!”

“Don’t hurt him” said dad.

“We won’t,” Jarrah and Amelie said together.


There’s a hen in the house and she’s eating all the dog food.

“Shoo!  Shoo!” yelled Amelie.

“There’s only one crumb left,” Jarrah said.

“Oh no,” said mum.


My dog’s on the table and she’s eating up my food.

“Oh, no!” said Amelie.

“Ha! Ha!” Jarrah laughed.

“Off the table!” mum said.


“The rabbit escaped!” Amelie cried.

“Catch her!” Jarrah screamed.

“I’ve got her,” mum said.


“The hamster bit me!” cried Jarrah.

“Oh drat!” said dad.

“Why did you get bit a second time?” Amelie asked.

“I don’t know,” Jarrah said. “The sky is getting dark, let’s go to bed.”