Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kampung Cham, Cambodia - charming regardless


Just a quick one before we fly home.

Alhamdulillah wa shukrulillah we were able to visit Bak Onlong in Stung Trong, a district in the Kampung Cham province in Cambodia. Thanks to Sidi M who made the arrangement with Ustaz Haji Wahid Abdullah of the Cambodian Mufti Office. Ustaz Haji Wahid and his brother-in-law Haji Raffee drove us there. It took us about 3 hours to get there which is 170 km northeast of Phnom Penh.

Our aims were to visit a secondary and primary school - Madrasah Al Nikmah Al Islamiyah and the villagers living near the schools, to understand better how life is like for this small Muslim community of Bak Onlong who together with the other 170 villages in Kampung Cham province and 300 villages elsewhere in Cambodia, make up the half million Muslim population in this little country neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos in Asia.

Kampung Cham is not just one village or kampung as I first thought. It is more like a district. It is the place to go if you wish to learn about meager living, reflect and be grateful of what you have. But make no mistake, in actual fact they are luckier than us, because in all probability they will be among those who will first enter the heavens! 
It was raining on our way to Kampung Cham. A rare occasion said Haji Wahid. 
Secondary school comprises of only two classes for students aged between 12 to 17. The school administrators are hoping to have separate classrooms for the girls and boys soon bi-iznillah.
Ustaz Ahmad handing out small tokens.

The little girl is an orphan. The woman is a widow. It was a bliss for me to witness simple pure happiness on such a pretty and innocent face.
Houses surrounding the schools we visited.
Ustaz Haji Wahid, a popular representative from the Cambodian Mufti Office whose presence in Kampung Cham is much anticipated as he regularly brings people from all over the world who intend to visit Kampung Cham to spread a little cheer to them.

A kitchen in one of the houses which I entered. Happy that I made the house owner laugh when I tried out the mortar and pestle filled with lemon grass.
Electricity, at long last! Alhamdulillah. But it looks like a small scale private initiative which means that power is still a luxury item.
The schools use similar syllabus as the one taught in one of the states in Malaysia. Madrasah Al Nikmah has been in operation with basic facilities (without electricity) for 2 years. 

A class of primary school students. Very cute aren't they? Sixty of the 170 students at Madrasah Al Nikmah are musafir. While waiting for the musafir's hostel to be ready, they simply shift the tables and sleep in this classroom. Each family living nearby the madrasah would donate one sack of rice each for the musafir students, MashaAllah!
Pretty girls preparing dessert (sweet jackfruit) for four of us visitors of the day. 

Special lunch prepared by Sister Jawahir and the girls. May Allah reward them for their generosities.
We say Uun Tepuun to them. That's thank you in Cham language.
May Allah make us recognize His attributes of qabdhu and basthu. And make us know Him in all His myriad manifestations and thereby make us have more taqwa, regardless. Ameen.

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