Displaced Yankee Productions | Off to Cambodia

Off to Cambodia

It’s hard to fathom that it has been over two years since Small Voices began as an off the cuff pitch at the premiere of Hotel Rwanda. It has been a challenging, rewarding and humbling journey. On the verge of the final production shoot – I’m a few hours away from leaving for the airport and I’m frantically throwing away food from my refrigerator. Last trip I can home to a REALLY unpleasant welcome and possibility two or three new kinds of penicillin breeding in my leftovers.
I admit some of this is nervous energy. I am anxious to get back to Cambodia and see the children and how they are faring in the seven months since we left them. Is Nygan’s family managing without his income at the dump? Who is caring for Charam’s 4 year old sister now that he off the street and in school? Is he still in school? Are the familiar faces of the street children who “adopted” Theresa and I on the very first trip still haunting their spots on the Tonle Sap riverfront? Is the forlorn young woman caring for her infant niece still surviving day to day or has she disappeared – simply becoming a statistic in the minds of the strangers who pass her by. They are questions I both anticipate and dread.

We get to the airport. And in plenty of time. I’ve received a never ending supply of phone calls and emails advising me to make sure I’ve got the flight schedule correct this go around. And to help me make sure I know where the hell I am going – I’ve got a regular entourage with me this go round. Art, my cameraman, is of course present and accounted for. (And currently fast asleep in the tiny seats the website for China Air colorfully termed ‘cozy’) But we are also joined by my friend and Small Voices narrator, Canadian actress Megan Follows. Megan is no stranger to humanitarian based projects. She has traveled to Rwanda and Tanzania as spokeswoman and photographer for World Vision. My dear friend Dennis is also along for the ride – literally and figuratively. Dennis avidly followed the blogs on previous trips and decided he wanted to become a sponsor to one of the kids at CCF. He is traveling to Cambodia to meet his adopted “son”, Bunlong, in person.

After two previous trips suffering through awful accommodations on EVA airlines, we’ve decided to try our lot with China Air. While it may be crowded, happily there is plenty of distraction. Each seat has a vid screen with a never ending supply of movies, tv shows and much to Dennis’ delight – video games – (such a boy).
Megan is buried in a Cambodian guidebook memorizing relevant tidbits about greetings and placing chopsticks properly in a bowl. From experience I can honestly say two things – any greeting to a street kid is bound to be followed by the phrase “dollar please?” and honestly, the number one place you don’t want to put the chopsticks at some of these roadside restaurants is actually in your mouth.
Only 16 hours to go – see you all in Cambodia!


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