KIDS FROM CAMBODIA
Welcome to another post about kids around the world. Cambodia is a Southeast Asian nation whose landscape spans low-lying plains, the Mekong Delta, mountains and Gulf of Thailand coastline. Its busy capital, Phnom Penh, is home to the art deco Central Market, glittering Royal Palace and the National Museum's historical and archaeological exhibits. In the country's northwest lie ruins of Angkor Wat, a massive stone temple complex built during the Khmer Empire.
- Only about 45% of Cambodian kids finish elementary school. The figure is much lower for children who live in rural villages.
- Cambodian children study math, history, geography, science, Khmer (Cambodia's official language), English, and French, as well as art, music, and dance. Most students wear uniforms.
- Leak Kon Saeng is a popular game in Cambodia. The game is similar to “duck duck goose,” but instead of tapping a person on the head, the player who is “it” places a knotted piece of cloth behind the “goose.”
- Older children enjoy ang kunh. An ang kunh is an oval-shaped seed. Two teams stand about 10 feet apart and place three to five ang kunh in a semicircle. Each team tries to knock down the other team’s pieces by tossing an ang kunh.
- Many Cambodians live with members of their extended families. Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins may live in the same home. The extended families often work together as well.
- Cambodian parents usually give their children symbolic names that rhyme with the name of another family member.
- Rice and fish! Cambodians eat rice at every meal. It is served fried, steamed, or in the form of noodles. Fish is eaten fresh, dried, smoked, or as a paste called prahok and is spiced with hot peppers, lemon grass, or mint. Cambodians even use rice in desserts. They combine it with fruit and coconut milk to create a sweet treat.
- The kouprey, a wild forest cow, is known for its long, curving horns. One of the rarest animals in the world, the kouprey is Cambodia's national animal.
- Unique holiday: Bonn Om Teuk, or water festival, is celebrated in November at the end of the rainy season when the water of the Mekong River begins to recede. Cambodians hold rowing races on the river during the festival.
- Did you know? Thousands of tourists travel to Cambodia each year to visit the temples at Angkor Wat. The temples were built in the 12th century.
Clancy's comment: Considering what these people have been through, they are wonderful, enterprising folks, and the kids are fabulous. Worth a visit.