It was M’lop Tapang carnival time this week, so with costumes on and whistles in mouths we joined the march. M’lop Tapang (the biggest Non Governmental Organisation working in Sihanoukville) hold an anual 3 day carnival in Sihanoukville. It involves street parades and performances and every year is designed to promote a different message to the comunity. The theme of this years carnival was road safety.
Road safety is a huge issue in Cambodia, with people being killed in traffic accidents on an almost daily basis. The majority of people do not wear safety helmets regularly (often only carrying them to slip on their heads if the police are about, who fine drivers without them). This is also true of traffic lights, with lots of people completely ignoring them unless there are police. These things in combination with little access to proper medical attention make for a really dangerous mix.
The possession worked it’s way around the local area, with huge floats, performers, loud speakers playing music and issuing safety messages and of course, a lot of kids! Ours really enjoyed themselves, soaking up the atmosphere and waving to the crowds. We had taken a nice mixture along of our children and the young adults who come to our center for evening classes. It was great to have their extra help and get to spend some more time with them.
As always the children behaved extremely well and represented the center excellently. We are all looking forward to next year!