The children have not been off the grounds for some time because of the Pandemic. There have not been many cases here but the schools are all still closed and we have been home-schooling them four hours every day, six days a week. For that reason, we wanted to take them out for a day, even though funds are limited. The kitchen staff fried several chickens and made the rice so that we would not have to buy the meal at the zoo. Presently we have 40 children but there were nearly 60 people altogether with staff and alumni. In the past, we sometimes rented a bus but this time used our two vehicles for the children and had the alumni use their motorcycles to travel the 10 kilometers to the zoo.

We talked to the children about social distancing the night before but realized when we got there that it would be impossible to enforce because the place was packed.

The park is quite large and so Dara and Ouen drove the cars around (for the little kids and me) while the older children walked. We ended up at the elephant exhibit where Dara was able to talk the staff into doing a show. By the time they got it set up, there was a large crowd gathered, which worked out well for the elephant and trainers, because the opening routine is the collecting of money from all of the onlookers. I was not aware of this routine, however, and therefore was unprepared when the elephant walked straight toward me and began molesting me with its trunk. The crowd and the children, who all knew the routine, got a big laugh out of it… while I sat there red-faced like a fool, not knowing what to do.

After the performance, we ate our lunch, and then cleaned up the area. When we were finished, each of the children was given an allowance, which most of them spent on ice cream.

It was a short get-a-way but everyone had a good time and, if nothing else, we broke the monotony that the pandemic has forced upon us.

Thanks for stopping in!

The Watopotians


For far too long our crematorium was neglected and even though I had made a promise to take care of it, it was never high on my things-to-do list. Fortunately, we seldom have to use it, and even though we have an agreement with the local hospital to do their cremations of deceased patients who no one claims, that has only happened a few times.

With all of the children home because of the Corona pandemic, there is plenty of help after home-school hours, and so I decided to put them to work cleaning it.

It took us several days but in the end, I think everyone was pleased with the results, including the residents of the crematorium who had convinced me it was time to make the restorations because they could not social distance in the glass case in which I had kept them for several years.

Now everyone has a good view of the outside and there is no more complaining from the little ones, who often got stuck in the back of the case.

For many of our older children, the crematorium is a place of comfort, because they have friends and family who took up residency there, after being cremated… but for our newer members, it is often a mysterious place that needs an explanation, and we tell them that everything we have at Wat Opot is because of those whose pictures are on the wall.

We do not teach any religion at Wat Opot but the children are encouraged to seek a path of their own choosing. Every night at our meditation we end by singing two songs of Praise… one to the Buddha and another to Jesus. They are allowed, and at times do, ask questions relating to Spirituality, and when they do, they are given information and suggestions, but we try hard not to give them answers… for answers must be found from searching within.

Thanks for stopping by, we would appreciate a comment below just to know that you were here.

The Watopotians


When digital cameras first came out I bought one hoping to take better pictures. It was well worth the expense and I was very pleased with the results but for some reason, at dusk, we would get these Orbs in our pictures like the one below.

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This was the first picture I took, with my new camera, that had an Orb in it. I was shocked to see it and I will tell you why. The year previous to the taking of this picture, a young boy died. I was holding his hand at the time he took his last breath, and with it, he called out my name as he reached up for me to hold him. A light shot out from his big brown eyes and like a cool breeze, it went through me as I fell into the bed. For that reason, the sphere of light in the picture above had a great deal of significance, for it is directly above the eyes of the deceased.

We had many other Orbs appear over time:

Like this one in my hand as I walked to the crematorium…

Or this one, that we called the Lonely Sentinel, outside the room where I slept.

But this picture of a moving orb above the photo of the eyes of the boy who died is perhaps the most dramatic of them all.

For awhile we took pictures almost every night and tried to understand these strange visitors, however, one afternoon, just before dark, there was a brief rain shower which, unfortunately, ended the grand display of digital orb photos. Some would suggest that it proves after all, that most of them were only dust in the wind, as many people had told us.  

I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I was a little bit disappointed because of it. I was beginning to like the little things coincidentally showing up at just the right time for my pictures. They seemed to know just where I wanted them to be.

Oh… I never really believed they were Spirits, not most of them anyway. I still have my suspicions about some of them, and I guess in my heart I really would like them to be Spirits. It would be so comforting to know that they were there and I suppose, to know that I would also be joining them someday, would help take away some of my personal uncertainties about Life after death.

Some people think that it is silly for a grown man to be going around looking for Spirits. I had one response that said, “ALL orbs are nothing more than a digital camera’s perception of natural things like dust or hair on the lens.” Another said, “they are a result of the flash and shutter being out of sync in the dark.” One response was even more conclusive: “NO Ghost, NO Spirits, and NO GOD! We are all just dust in the wind and nothing more.” They all agreed on what the orbs are not but seemed to have some disagreement on what they actually are.

I may seem stupid and naive to most people, especially to those like the ones above… but to tell you the truth, I rather feel sorry for them. The feeling that I am at times surrounded by those who have crossed over to the other side is something that gives me a great deal of Peace and Comfort… and, if I thought as they do, that there are no mysteries in life and that when it is over, it is finished… I don’t think I would enjoy life nearly as much as I do now.

I do believe in a Spiritual World and while the Orbs may not be anything more than just dust in the wind, I will go on searching for Spirits… perhaps until the day that I join them. So… if you happen to be around for my funeral, take along your digital camera, and just maybe it will pick up a large orb, floating blithely away into space… that is of course if it isn’t raining.


With everyone at home, because of school being out, there are plenty of hands that want to make some extra cash working, and there is plenty of work to do. The little black boy, who is a leftover from the art classes a few years back and who once sat unnoticed at the edge of the Peace Garden pond but was transferred to another garden where he played a minor role observing a bronze boy playing guitar, has been moved up to a place of more prominence and now reminds the children every day to meditate and be more mindful of nature.

I sure hope no one is offended because we painted him black… we couldn’t paint him gold because that is a color usually reserved for Monks, or the Buddha. Any other color than black just doesn’t look good.

One of the other projects just finished today is the Recycle room. It sat unpainted for a couple of years only because it wasn’t high on our things-to-do list. Vandy, who is a University student and usually works in Phnom Penh, has not been able to find work yet and so I put him to work painting. One of his projects was to come up with a design for the front of the room, that had something to do with cleanliness or recycling.

He came up with a drawing that immediately caught my attention and so I told him to go ahead and do it.

It took him a couple of weeks to complete because of the intermittent rain showers. but he finally got it done this afternoon and I am quite pleased with the results.

We are working on other projects as well that we have been putting off doing until a rainy day, and it is raining… but we have to wait until the Sun comes out to do the work.

Thanks for checking in on us. I will be keeping you posted as work progresses.