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Monday, November 22, 2010

Festival Update

Hello all.  Sorry for the delay but it has been the busiest week yet and we are just gettin cookin.

Unfortunately there is some pretty heavy news to share (which many of you may already know about) before a real update on what we've been doing.  This past weekend Cambodia celebrated a three day water festival which is held every November to honor a victory by Cambodian naval forces during the 12th century.  During the festival, which includes boat races, participants pray for a good rice harvest, substantial rain, and to celebrate the full moon.  Last night, amidst the celebrations in the capital city of Phnom Penh, a suspension bridge begin to sway and people began to panic - running in all directions and some leaping from the bridge into the water.  In a somewhat strange effort to coax people to continue across the bridge, police fired a water cannon in the direction of the bridge.  This caused a chaotic stampede resulting in the deaths of over 300 people either by drowning, suffocation, or electrocution (from lights hanging on the bridge).  The prime minister declared thursday to be a day of mourning and already the city of Siem Reap where we are living (a 5 hour drive from the capital) seems quiet in the wake of this national tragedy.

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