So in Canada, its traditional to toboggan down hills in the winter.  But what if you don’t have winter?!

Just use a stone hill, smoothed out by the bums of generations of Peruvian children!

It seems that every day here we get mistaken for Australians (or Swede’s…see previous posts). Getting mistaken for an Aussie isn’t really a bad thing, because I associate all good things with the nation down under…former British colony, fine weather, and good looking citizens! And being mistaken for one of them is surely much more complimentary than being taken for an American! But even after you tell them you are not from Australia, it doesn’t seem to matter, so I’ve just been going with it.

Typical cab ride in Singapore:
Driver: “So…whey you fra la?” (Translation: Where are you from?)
Me: “Canada…Toronto”
Driver: “OOOH Canada…big place yah. Cold! Haha!”
Me: “Yah, pretty cold there this time of year”
Driver: “You know, our Prime Minister has been to Australia many times”
Me: “Oh really?”
Driver: “Yes, many, many times”
Me: “Nice”
Driver: “Yes, nice”
Me: Silence
Driver: “Australia has great golfing”
Me: “Nice”
Driver: “Yes, nice”
Me: Silence

And often by this point I have arrived at my destination and can extricate myself from the rapidly deteriorating conversation. It simply puzzles me every time it happens. I can’t figure out if it is the nearest frame of reference for Caucasian habitation, or if they are unsure about Canada. Maybe it sounds like Canberra???? That thought just occurred to me…OMG. I might have just figured this mystery out!!!

While in Cambodia we had the opportunity to visit the landmine museum. We were surprised to see that this facility was founded and funded through the efforts of the Canadian government and a Canadian NGO! How exciting!
The mission of the facility is twofold:
• To establish a land mine museum in Cambodia for the purpose of providing land mine accident prevention awareness and public education.
• To provide educational facilities, programming and rehabilitation facilities for survivors of land mine injury.

The museum taught us a lot about the history of landmines, their origin, manufacture, function, and most importantly, the debilitating damage they can do to the human body. Landmines were created to maim. The logic being that an injured soldier is a lot more taxing to a war effort than a dead one. Which, I guess is true. Unfortunately, more often than not, these mines are left in the ground long after a battle – lying in wait to injure and kill civilians, their livestock, and even endangered species.

I have to admit seeing our tax dollars at work here gave me just a little twinge of pride for our little country. It probably didn’t cost a whole lot to have this modest facility, to educate the public and to help clear numerous minefields throughout the country, but this effort has made a big impact on this country and to those who have suffered injuries because of landmines. When we told locals we were from Canada, more than once they expressed their gratitude to our government for assisting in their rebuilding after years of war and conflict. That felt pretty nice.

You can get more information on this organization and how you can help here.