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Siem Reap Scene...

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PADDY POWER QUIZ WIN

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Photo by: KYLE SHERER

Alex Mills, co-owner of the Funky Munky.

Last Thursday night's Funky Munky Trivia Night raised US$224 for Anjali House charity with the help of an extra $50 first place prize donated by winners of The Phnom Penh Post brain-wracking quiz question.

Once again, Irishman Paddy and his team Paddy Power proved they are the force to be reckoned with, taking first place in the Post quiz for the second week in a row, and once again choosing to donate their entire winnings to charity.

A spokesperson for Anjali House said the night's cause was a special case.  "The money raised will go towards a much-loved teacher at our school. He is battling cancer, which has been removed, but he still needs around $500 for radiotherapy treatment".

Runner up in the Post quiz was a three-way tie between Wat Bo Selecta, Soria Moria and the Defenestrators, all winning a one-month subscription to the Post as the second place prize.

The challenge is now on for competitors in the third Post quiz at the Funky Munky tonight to actually wrest the crown from the Paddy Power team of large-scale leprechauns.

FLOATING CLINIC REPORTS

PHOTO SUPPLIED

Jon Morgan, captain of The Lake Clinic.

Jon Morgan, skipper of Tonle Sap's floating medical facility, The Lake Clinic, has lodged the organisation's first annual report.

From October 29 to December 25 last year, doctors at The Lake Clinic treated 914 people in Siem Reap and Kampong Thom floating villages, reached by a specially-designed boat clinic TLC-1, nicknamed the Charming Duckling. Many of the treated villagers had never before seen a doctor, and even those who knew of health care centres could not raise the money to travel there.

The Lake Clinic began last year, becoming fully operational in October. In two months, the organisation provided 448 people with general medicine, 316 people with paediatric care, 102 people with dental services, 42 people with antenatal care and six people with referrals. They also immunised children and educated villagers on sanitation, particularly in regards to drinking water.

Jon has big plans for The Lake Clinic in 2009, including several improvements to the boat itself. In March, TLC-1 will be brought to the Sweline boat yard in Phnom Penh for a refit, which will give it an improved bow, an additional 150-litre gas tank, modified toilets and showers, and a solid roof over the top deck to house solar panels and provide additional seating.

Changes are also being made to the organisation. This month Morgan hopes to sign a memorandum of agreement with the Ministry of Health, allowing The Lake Clinic to import supplies without tax or tariff, and giving them access to areas bordering Tonle Sap.

WATER WORKS ... NOT

Despite assurance by the Siem Reap Water Supply Authority to the Post last week that the water supply to a large swath of local businesses would be back to normal "within four to five days". this has not yet happened - surprise, surprise.

Nor has there been any further news of when the water supply problem, which severely hampers many businesses, will actually return to normal.

Roadwork at the National Road 6 end of Sivutha Boulevard, which is suspected to be the root cause of the water supply problem, is still an unholy demolition-derby mess.

But this hasn't deterred project workers from now digging up the central part of Sivutha  Boulevard and creating an even bigger mess.

To add to the chagrin of business owners along this strip, their businesses have now been shut off by a green metal barricade fence similar to the monstrosity that cut off river views in Phnom Penh's busy riverside precinct.

Tell Restaurant has been particularly hard-hit by the green-fence curse - the restaurant's car parking access and street views have been wiped out, and proprietor Thilo Krueger was left looking pale and shaky before fleeing to Phnom Penh.

BUTTERFLY VENDORS

Photo by: JESSIE BEARD

Butterfly vendors.

Three times a week disadvantaged children from a poor village near Angkor Wat archeological park come bearing baskets of butterflies to sell to the Butterflies Garden Restaurant in Siem Reap.

Each basket contains around 60 butterflies and is purchased by the restaurant for roughly $1.75 per basket.  Altogether the children collect 500 to 600 small butterflies, each one having a life expectancy of around five days that in butterfly days is considered quite long.  

In total, there are about 1,500 butterflies that make home in the restaurant's leafy garden.

Butterflies Garden Restaurant manager, Suko Om, said the main reason behind the initiative is "to keep the kids off the street and give them an alternative to selling postcards and bracelets and things like that. It is important to know they are not made to come every week; selling the butterflies is very much optional".

The smiles on the children's faces is undeniable testimony that they like their butterfly-collecting job.

The money the children receive from the restaurant, whose social mission is "to contribute to building a promising future for children in Cambodia", hopefully goes towards helping them and their study. A part of the restaurant's profits also funds programs for disadvantaged children and youth in the area.  

Kids can be seen delivering butterflies on Monday, Thursday and Saturday morning at around 11am.

HOSPITAL  ANNIVERSARY

The Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, built by Friends Without a Border, will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Sunday with a ceremony in the morning at the hospital and a buffet dinner party in the evening at Angkor Mondial Restaurant.

During its 10 years of operation, the hospital has provided medical care for more than 625,000 children, and the staff has increased to 210, including 25 doctors and 89 nurses, 98 percent of whom are Cambodians.

It claims to be the largest paediatric HIV treatment facility outside Phnom Penh, and its Medical Education Centre has trained 2,500 health care workers throughout the country.

On Sunday, Friends Without a Border will also host a groundbreaking ceremony for its second hospital to be built at Sotr Nikum, near Phnom Penh.

The Sunrise Angkor Children's Village has also opened its new play area and garden at the orphanage, donated by ANZ Royal Bank, Siem Reap.

Sunrise's Siem Reap manager, Robert Marsden, who signed on four months ago after a stint in Battambang, said the orphanage, which commenced operations in Siem Reap in 2004, now houses 78 kids and has a staff of 20.

CRAFTY SEMINAR

The Cambodia-Japan Cooperation Centre is hosting a seminar titled "New Product Development with Traditional Craft Values" tomorrow morning at the Ree Hotel, from 8:30-11:30. A second conference will also take place in Phnom Penh on Saturday.

The conference, hosted by Fumio Shimizu, a designer who was a judge for Unesco's "Seal of Excellence for Handicrafts" award, will cover a range of topics, including the variety of local craftwork, the role of craftwork and the role of designers.

The conference takes place a week after the Japan College of Social Work's "Working with Cambodian Children" roundtable was held in Siem Reap.

This conference included representatives from five NGOs and 20 students from Japan. Viktor Virag from Japan College said that the seminar aimed to "discuss cooperation between Japanese NGOs and Cambodians".

Titled "Realities, Possibilities and Dreams", the workshop included presentations from the Joint Support Team for Angkor Preservation and Community Development, the Asia Welfare Policy Development Association, the Angkor Hospital for Children, the Japan International Center for the Rights of the Child, Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi, Caring for Young Khmer/Refugees and the Snadai Khmer Orphanage. 

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