Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cambodian Buddhist Funerals and a Stomach Virus

First, something pleasant:

These beautiful orchids grow on our second story balcony. That is the most beautiful spot out of the entire house.
This week we were able to witness a side of Cambodian culture that we haven't seen before: a funeral. The Buddhist approach to death is very different from what is normally witnessed in the States. Sunday we noticed the old lady who lives in a house at the end of the street walking up and down the street assisted by two family members. Then monks started arriving. Her husband had died, supposedly in the night. Very soon afterwards, this tent was going up on the narrow alley that composes our street:
Monks chanting, a recording of a wailing lament and clangy music with drums was played at full volume most of the time after the tent was set up. This particular funeral went until Wednesday, though the people here say it depends on how much money you have. If you have a lot of money, it usually lasts a full week. Every morning during the funeral people would be up preparing for the day and music would start soon after 4 a.m. This would continue throughout the day and then in the evening people would come and eat at the tables set up under the tent. Children would run around playing and people would be socializing until around 10 p.m. Then, on Wednesday, everyone showed up in white clothes (the color of mourning here.) When it was time, the coffin was pulled on a cart with wheels and the people walked in procession holding unopened lotus blossoms and carrying a bowl of something white. Not long afterwards, the tent and tables disappeared and life went on as before.


For us, this week has been full of sickness. Ben and Ezra were home with a stomach virus at the beginning of the week. (Ben commented on the appropriateness of feeling like death and listening to a death chant all. day. long.) Poor Ezra can't catch a break. The vomiting and diarrhea from the beginning of the week has finally lessened but we're keeping an eye on his fluid intake to make sure he stays hydrated. You can tell he doesn't feel well when he lays around, because he's normally a very hyper little guy. He's been lethargic this week and not wanting to eat. Talia has also been home with the same symptoms, but seems to be recovering faster.
Zoe has made it to one month old!
Hopefully everyone will be feeling better soon.


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