Sunday, February 21, 2016

February 22, 2016

I didn't plan to do much this morning before I departed.  I've wanted to go to Wat Phnom because I've never been, but I had no idea what a treat was in store when we jumped in the Tuk Tuk with Mr. Lee. It is a holiday today in Cambodia in which Buddhists obserbe Makha Bucha Day click here to learn more

Makah Bucha means to honor so people go to their Wat (temple) to pay respect.  As I write I can hear lovely music coming from Wat Langka across the street.  At Wat Phnom it was the same. Beautiful music, lighting of incense and the giving of offerings.  Simply beautiful.  Such an unexpected end to my trip.  We stopped by the FCC (Foreign Correspondence Club) for a juice after and they had the most appropriate quote above the dorm as we left : )

My heart is full.  See you soon.

Ms. Brewer

February 22, 2016

It is already Monday morning for me.  Today is my last wake up in Cambodia.  My last bowl of scrumptious, fresh mango.  I have loved my trip, but alas as they say all good things must come to an end.

The last two days have been wonderful.  I was up and out of Villa Langka too early yesterday to write about Saturday so here it is : )

February 20, 2016

We started our day with a cruise on the Tonle Sap and Mekong-they intersect in Phnom Penh with some of our current students as well as alumni and friends of CASF.  It was lovely.

As I post I hear the bells being rung at the Wat across the street starting the day for the monks who live at the Pagoda.  This seems ironic in a way as the post I am writing about is filled with Cambodian tradition.

In the evening we we to see traditional dancing at the Royal Museum put on by Cambodian Living Arts.  Click here to learn more  It was amazing.  The music and dancing colliding into a spectacular performance.

Now for yesterday,

February 21, 2016

We traveled to the Province of Svay Reing which is about 3.5 hours south of Phnom Penh.  It was great to see the countryside.  Small towns, rice fields and quieter life outside of the city.  In Svay Reing we met with all of our students (there are 20) to see how they are doing and with the 11th and 12th graders discuss what they want to study in University.  I loved seeing our CASF students and giving them the school supplies you sent along with me.  The girls mommies made us a wonderful lunch as well including freshly cut down coconut water.

See you on Wednesday,

Ms. Brewer

Friday, February 19, 2016

February 20, 2016

Good Morning : )

I feel like a broken record, yesterday was another great day.  This has been a wonderful trip full of learning and deeper understanding.  In fact I will be brief today as we are heading off on a boat trip on the Mekong River with our students soon.

We had a meeting a RUPP in the morning with the Director of Community Development Studies. This is a new program in its second year.  Community Development is a big need in Cambodia as the country itself develops and this program shows a lot of promise for the students in our program.

In the afternoon I felt a bit like Harry Potter as we went to the Ministry.  Specifically, the Ministry of Education where we met with the Secretary of State (yes, we are a big deal ; ).  He was a very kind man who helped us gain a better grasp of the Cambodia 2030 goals for education and how we can help support those goals.

Finally, we had dinner at Romdeng-click here to learn more  This restaurant is part of Friends International which works to train street kids for employment.  I had a very delicious Cambodian specialty fish amok.

I am so very thankful for all of the great connections we've made in Cambodia to move our work in support of education forward.

Ms. Brewer

Thursday, February 18, 2016

February19, 2016

Yesterday morning we went to the Annual Meeting of NEP (NGO Education Partnership) which is an organization which works to coordinate the efforts of NGO's working in the education sector in Cambodia.  I felt like I was at a meeting at the UN.  The presenters spoke in Khmer and we wore headphones in which an interpreter spoke English.

In the afternoon we took a trip to Open Book which is a library open to everyone.  CASF is a project under the umbrella of Open Book here in Cambodia.  With current NGO laws we need to have an umbrella organization based here in Cambodia.  Open Book publishes books as well. They have published many books by our founder, Fred Lipp.  Additionally, they just published Maribel: Cat of the World by Jean-Claude Redonnet who is on the Board of CASF and joined me on this visit to Open Book.  I have a copy of Maribel to share with you when I return.

It was another great day.  I am learning so much and am really excited about the educational landscape here in Cambodia.

Ms. Brewer

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

February 18, 2016

Today my post will be in photos.

Yesterday we had a visit to the province of Kandall followed by meetings at Villa Langka and a trip to the Russian Market.  It continues to be a great trip.

Ms. Brewer

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

February 17, 2016

Good Morning,

Yesterday was another great day.  We had good meetings with people who we have been or would like to work with here in Cambodia to strengthen the work we do and collaborate on common goals.

First, we met with the Silas Everett and Lim Siv Hong at The Asia Foundation.  Part of their work has a similar program as CASF to educate university level young women.  To find out more about The Asia Foundation go to

Later, we met with Sister Luise Ahrens who runs the English Language Support Unit at RUPP (Royal University of Phnom Penh).   Sister Luise is one of the most remarkable people I have ever had the pleasure to meet.  I could have sat and talked with her all day as she told us stories of her time in Cambodia.  She arrived in 1991 to help rebuild RUPP after it was intentionally decimated by the Khmer Rouge in the mid 70's.  She has been here ever since and has been integral to the rebuilding of the education system in Cambodia.

To learn more about Sister Luise go to:

Ms. Brewer

Monday, February 15, 2016

February 16, 2016

Good Morning,
I just had the most delicious breakfast.  I can't get enough of the mango here, it is in season and spectacularly delicious.

Here are some photos from yesterday:

I took a Tuk Tuk ride around Phnom Penh to reacquaint myself with the city.  I am amazed at how much it has changed in five years.  Go to this link and you can ride along with us: the traffic patterns here are much different than home. When I came five years ago it was hard for me to see the rhythm of it all, but now it feels familiar.  Go to this link and you can read a vignette I wrote in my SMWP class I took this summer 

After I returned from the Tuk Tuk ride I had a couple of meetings and then we went to the Royal Palace to explore.  We returned to the hotel for a nap (I am really tired from the time change).  Once we relaxed a bit we headed to the dorm to visit with our university students.  I brought them some of the school supplies you donated and they were very appreciative.  We had a great visit and did a round like we do in class where everyone says something-the prompt for our conversation had two questions: 1) If you could only eat one snack food for the rest of your life what would it be 2) If you were an animal what would you be and why? 

Lastly, we had dinner at a restaurant Malis which serves delicious Cambodian food before we returned back to Villa Langka full and tired : )

I hope you all are having a wonderful break,
Ms. Brewer