Today at school, one of the Khmer teachers, Savann, had a toothache. At recess, she was bent over a table crying softly - she didn't want attention, but Naomi and I couldn't help but interrogate her. I asked to see her tooth, and at first she was too shy to lift her head, embarrassed to show her tears. Her tooth was black. Us teeth-hygiene-American-freaks should feel luckier than a leprechaun in a pot of gold, because when I saw what was really going on in this girl's mouth, it made me feel so incredibly bad for her. Even if she could fully afford a root canal, it's not anywhere near certain that the dentist would do a good job or even totally know how to deal with it. She would have to see a really good doctor/dentist of Western standards which would cost a LOT more. This could very well put her in a really bad situation, considering she only makes $50/month and supports her family in the process. Naomi was almost positive that Anjali House takes care of the teachers when things like this happen, so I'm pretty sure Savann should be seeing a doctor today to take care of her tooth, which basically needs to be extracted and medicated immediately.
Dental hygiene is definitely not something that Cambodians hold great pride in. People do not have good teeth, which is mainly because they don't really brush their teeth and can't afford to keep them up, and dentists are not very efficient or knowledgeable in general anyway. Many of the kids at Anjali have missing or broken teeth, and that's not because they're 7 years old. Something that I've also noticed is this strange existence of an upper middle tooth or upper teeth that look like they've been sharpened on purpose. I still haven't figured out the whole "why" factor about this, but someone will hopefully enlighten me on the subject soon, which shall be relayed.
School was somewhat uneventful, besides learning how to make a snake out of a paper plate and the water fight, and most of the day we spent complaining about the invasive heat.
After class, I met back up with Jake, the lovely monk, to talk about Buddhism, religion and meditation. He had some really interesting music he wanted to offer me and lent me his amazing 'vajra,' which is a Buddhist wand made of crystal, copper and magnets that he uses in meditation. The second I picked it up, its energy shot straight up into my arm. It was a trippy experience. After holding it in my hand for a while, I could feel that there was something extremely powerful about it. I couldn't describe it, but it was for real. I like Jake. He's a very sweet, caring man who has traveled the world, in and out of monasteries, learning and teaching about Buddhism as well as other religions. He is always trying to help people, he is a true selfless, lover and giver to the world. I definitely feel we were meant to meet and the story of our meeting, described in a previous blog, is quite interesting. Hearing him talk was very inspiring and the more I'm here, the more I am learning to let go of things in general - to be more patient, forgiving and giving, and not particularly in a Buddhist way, but just in an overall... way.
Jake and I discussed lots of interesting topics like out of body experiences, which I've been interested and researching about for a few years now, and he had a great story of his own. We discussed the notion of reincarnation and incredible stories of small children who have vivid memories of past lives, which have been confirmed as true events - a topic I've also been quite fascinated with. And finally, on a lighter note, he is the first person who equally believes that the movie "Avatar" was channeled by the Universe and how "God" uses Hollywood to educate the world. Now, I'm assuming many of you reading this are going to say "Oh my, Erica, what in the world are you talking about, that's a bunch of BS" And that is COMPLETELY fine. Just please don't let my 'Woodstock' brain of a self stop you from reading the rest of my blog. :-)
In the evening, 15 of us went for dinner for $1 tapas night to celebrate Sabrina's last day at a really nice hotel around the corner: everything on the menu including cocktails cost $1. I love Cambodia.
Oh, and I had forgot to share my proud "I-ate-a-cricket-photograph" from the other night!