THE FINAL POST

It is with great sadness that I write this last post for the Wat Opot Children’s Community. Due to illness and advanced age, I have returned to the States and can not be certain that I will be able to return to Cambodia for full-time work. For that reason, I have relinquished my responsibilities and my connection to and with Partners in Compassion-Cambodia. It was therefore decided by the Board of Directors that because of a lack of sufficient funding, the residential care of vulnerable children will be phased out and the children presently living there will be reintegrated back into the community before May of 2024. I have been advised that Mr. Dara Phan will continue to support those children being transitioned by doing home visits for at least the next six months with funds remaining from the sponsorship program and, if successful in starting up a new NGO, will continue to work with the Wat Opot children and alumni as well as taking on new vulnerable families. For information on the transitioned children please contact 

Mr. Dara Phan at: 

Telephone (855-(0)96) 644 4474

Email: phanlimdara@gmail.com

Under the leadership of Mr. Vandin San, Partners in Compassion will take over the daycare and community education programs at the Wat Opot Center. For information on these programs please contact:

Mr. Vandin San

Telephone (855-(0)12) 414 689

Email: partnersincommpassion@rocketmail.com

This website pccambodia.org  will be discontinued shortly. I am very grateful for the support of our many Donors over the past several years. It has been an amazing journey and I could not have done it without you. You can follow the remainder of my Journey at godlessworld.info or Email me at: waynematthysse45@gmail.com

On behalf of myself and all who call themselves WATOPOTIANS… THANK YOU!

Wayne Dale Matthysse

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Although we do not celebrate Christmas here in the same way as most of the Western world, we do know how to celebrate. The children thank both Buddha and Jesus almost every night in their meditations for giving us good advice on how to live our lives. The video below was a pre-Christmas rehearsal using our newly decorated stage and karaoke system. We are very grateful for all of our supporters who make our joy possible and offer this video for your enjoyment with our wish that your Christmas celebration will be filled with Merriment.

Thanks for stopping in… for those of you who are not yet one of our supporters but would like more information on how to become one, please visit our CONTACT PAGE or go directly to the Wat Opot support website:  https://www.watopot.org/en/donate

THE WATOPOTIANS

NEW FIRSTS NEWS

The new Art Room is finished and we held our First session for the Wat Opot kids last Saturday.

Because our children enjoy the opportunity to express themself through art we decided to open it up to the preschool children as well and today was their First session,

For some of the community children, it was their First time in the Art Room and their First opportunity to create their own work of art.

And then, in the afternoon, we welcomed our newest addition to his First day at Wat Opot, someone who has been with us for several months but has been hidden from view until today.

Thanks for stopping in… for those of you who are not yet one of our supporters but would like more information on how to become one, please visit our CONTACT PAGE or go directly to the Wat Opot support website:  https://www.watopot.org/en/donate

THE WATOPOTIANS

PIZZA SUNDAY

Kate is back so let’s make some pizza!

Some of the high school students along with Veasna (our 5* restaurant chef) started rolling out the dough…

While others made the sauce and cut the vegetables.

Others added the toppings and put them in the oven.

Of course, there had to be a taste tester to ensure that the end product was suitable for the children.

I gave my seal of approval and the party began.

Everyone agreed with my findings…

Including our youngest.

Sorry, you missed the party but I am sure there will be another one so make your reservations to join us.

If you are not one of our supporters but would like more information on how to become one please visit our CONTACT PAGE or go directly to the Wat Opot support website: https://www.watopot.org/en/donate

THE WATOPOTIANS

OCTOBER ACTIVITIES

Every weekday we hold extracurricular classes in Math, Khmer, and English for all the kids at Wat Opot and in the wider community to help them get a leg up in their academic journey.

With nearly a hundred children attending regularly, our awards ceremony yesterday was a pretty big deal for both the kids receiving awards and their teachers and classmates who cheered them on.

Congratulations to all, we’re so proud of you!

We also had to bid farewell to Janina, a long-time supporter and representative from St. Ursula Gymnasium Dorsten, who joined us this week to learn more about our programs and delve into the many stories that Wat Opot has to tell.

In her short time with us, she showed us some new exercises for our weekly Yoga sessions.

Janina, it was an absolute pleasure to have you here – for the kids especially!

We hope to stay connected with you through the future! Your support is so important to us – thank you!

Thanks for stopping in and thanks to all of you who are supporting us… before I go, however, I need to share this photo of a Wat Opot Sunset from Scott Rotzoll, another of our Volunteers / Photojournalist.

If you are not one of our supporters but would like more information on how to become one please visit our CONTACT PAGE or go directly to the Wat Opot support website: https://www.watopot.org/en/donate

THE WATOPOTIANS

HOW ABOUT SOME GOOD NEWS

The Wat’s LOUD SPEAKERS have gone silent and the festival celebrants have all gone home, following the three-day Pchum Ben Festival here in Cambodia. The reprieve from the noise was short-lived, however, as the children, who were on home leave, started to come back the next day and the community preschool children once again came for their classes in the mornings.

We have had a lot of rain here and if I were to complain about anything I would tell you about our flooding woes… but compared to much of the rest of Cambodia, most of our buildings are still dry, and the only hardships we suffer are wet feet.

In the afternoons, the older community children descend on our campus for study and unsupervised sports activities, volleyball being the predominant choice for the boys, however, there are a few “Tomboys” (if that term is still appropriate) who are just as good if not better than many of the boys.

Another activity is playing the “shoe game” which involves kicking one of your flip-flops against a wall or someone else’s flip-flop until you knock over the prize (usually a pile of small trading cards when I am watching, or money when I am not watching. I really do not understand the game and to be quite honest I believe that there are Flip-flop secret agents who go around to all of the communities, teaching the children this game because it ruins at least one of their flipflops every couple of weeks and they come and want me to buy them new ones.

Well… that’s about all folks. Thanks for stopping in and thanks to all of you who are supporting us. If you are not one of our supporters but would like more information on how to become one please visit our CONTACT PAGE or go directly to the Wat Opot support website: https://www.watopot.org/en/donate

THE WATOPOTIANS

SPECIAL STAFF MEETING

Our director Mr. Dara held a staff meeting today and instead of telling us what he thought of our work performance, had us do a self-evaluation. Our responses were then posted on the board and we discussed the pros and cons of each one listed.

No one felt threatened because we were the ones who came up with the items discussed. Although I had a limited understanding of what was said by some of the staff, I think the meeting went well.

At the end of the meeting, I thanked the staff for all of the work they have and are doing and I reminded them of the fact that over the years, the Wat Opot Community has hosted many important dignitaries, including actors, entertainers, members of Royal families and Political leaders. We had television documentaries done in Europe, Asia, and Korea, Interviews on BBC and Al Jazeera, magazine articles in many leading magazines like Readers Digest, and even a front-page article in the Detroit Free Press, as well as a book written and published about our community that has reached thousands of English readers and has also been translated and published in Chinese. We have also had a huge effect on many children who grew up here and who today are very successful, as evidenced by the diplomas and certificates above the whiteboard… a new project we have just started. I ended by telling them that even though we may not see that what we are doing is that important, we have had a profound effect on millions of people around the World and it is my hope that we will continue to do so.

Thanks for stopping in and thanks to all of you who are supporting us. If you are not one of our supporters but would like more information on how to become one please visit our CONTACT PAGE or go directly to the Wat Opot support website: https://www.watopot.org/en/donate

THE WATOPOTIANS

SUNDAY MORNING ART

Reviving the tradition of Art Expression with meditation music every Sunday morning.

Sunday mornings start with breakfast, usually instant noodles, and then a quick clean-up of the campus grounds. Between the hours of eight and nine, all of the children gather in the dining room where they are given the opportunity to express themselves through art while listening to meditation music.

I am not sure how therapeutic it is for them … but for me, to see them all sitting quietly for an hour while I enjoy a hot cup of coffee, is very therapeutic.

Young and old participate in the activity, and although there are various degrees of creative ability in the group, most of them make a serious effort to produce something beautiful.

Thanks for stopping in and thanks to all of you who are supporting us. If you are not one of our supporters but would like more information on how to become one please visit our CONTACT PAGE or go directly to the Wat Opot support website: https://www.watopot.org/en/donate

THE WATOPOTIANS

UPDATE ON MY RETURN

I had, so much, been looking forward to getting back to Cambodia and the warmer weather but wasn’t prepared for the heat as I walked out of the airport in Phnom Penh. The travel back went much better than I expected and the airline service took good care of me. The 15-hour flight from San Francisco to Singapore was my biggest worry but they put me in an aisle seat with no seats ahead of me so I had plenty of leg room and the bathroom was just steps away. The seat was small and I was concerned for anyone who would have to sit next to me, but as the plane loaded and the doors were shut I realized that seat was not taken. The best part was the next seat over was a young businessman from Singapore and we were able to have some good discussions in between meals and naps.

Some miscommunications left me stranded at the airport for a short time but I eventually got to my hotel and was able to relax… all of the worries of not making a connection, canceled flights, or not getting to a bathroom in time were needless. A COMING HOME party was held at the riverside Saturday evening and on Sunday I slept in and just enjoyed Phnom Penh from my balcony.

Dara picked me up Monday morning but informed me we would be picking up Srey Liep and taking her back to Wat Opot again because Grandma was back in the hospital… so much for a slow reintroduction to the Watopotian lifestyle.

The children seemed as happy to see me as I was to see them again and although the attention can be a bit overwhelming at times, it is so much better than the solitude of being alone. A couple of new kids have been added during the time I was away.

Not much has changed during the time I was gone. Dara, Scott, and the Staff have done a good job of managing the place in my absence, for which I am very grateful. Not sure what role I will play in the future… but there is still a lot of work to be done here and I hope that my health continues to improve so that I can remain a contributing part of the Wat Opot Community.

Thanks for stopping in and thanks to all of you who are supporting us. If you wish to become a supporter please visit our CONTACT PAGE.

THE WATOPOTIANS

STAYING IN TOUCH

It is difficult being in the States knowing that the daily activities at Wat Opot continue and that Mr. Dara, the staff, and all of the children are doing well without me. Corresponding from time to time with them via telephone brightens my day but does nothing to help clear the uncertainties of my future. My vision has returned to what it was before and I await new glasses from the Veterans Affair. My Blood pressure and Glucose levels are under control with medicine and I am feeling much better than before, and so I should be able to make a decision in the next few weeks regarding my next move. I appreciate very much the prayers and messages of support I have received for myself… but more important I am very grateful to all who have come through with their much needed support for the children and staff of the Wat Opot Community. You can follow this link to a new Facebook video that was just completed, if you would like to learn more about the community and the children.

Wayne Dale Matthysse