Two Months on Update for Kickstarter

Greetings Kinyei Cafe Backers!

We’re nearly two months on from the end of our Kickstarter and wanted to share some of what we’ve been up to and what your support has enabled. The hot season is nearly upon us here in Battambang, but things have been ramping up we’ve got momentum going to sustain energy levels even through the most brutal of 40 degree weather!

Coffee + the Cafe

  • We’ve introduced some western snacks to the menu. Khmer snacks such as sugared sweet potato fries were trialled but we couldn’t compete with the reigning kings of these snacks around the market on price or secret khmer snack-fu techniques.
  • One of our backers requested the number of black coffees without ice sold. It is 57.
  • Total khmer vs espresso coffees served: 84 : 436
  • Nationalities served: 23
  • Small lattes (“latte dtoich”) are the new rage

Introducing the small latte; objects in photo appear larger than they actually are

  • Our staff regularly get told they make the best coffee in Cambodia. We’re pleased as punch about this.
  • With a fridge breakdown, a burst pipe, and sudden wedding-related staff absences almost every week this month, we’re learning to deal with mini crises.
  • Two team members, Phalla and Untac, participated in the first ever TEDx conference in Cambodia in February and are completely pumped to organize Battambang’s own in the coming months
  • Competition is heating up as the staff battle it out on the espresso machine for best cappuccino. This week, best yogurt!

Untac's winning yogurt creation

Other projects developing in the space

  • An exciting collaboration between local artists, Siem Reap’s ArtDeli and Kinyei is kicking off. “Sammaki” is going to be Battambang’s first collaborative art space, a gallery which exhibits local work without restriction, and hosts artists’ workshops and events. It will be run as a cooperative effort between 2 artists in residence, Kinyei and Jam’s Art Deli. We’ve already hosted planning workshops and it’s all hands on deck these next few weekends, as we’ll be prepping the space art(/rennovation) attack style. Check out how far we’ve come.
  • The Open Classroom has seen lots of traffic in the last month with workshops run on women’s reproductive health, working with Cambodian culture, and cross-cultural creative expression
  • Soksabike community tours have been operating out of the space and have been going great guns: Soksabike feature in local publication
  • Seavyi Yonn, a Kinyei intern has started a skills club in the Open Workshop space, now 10 sessions in, that allows high school students to get together and share extra curricular skills such as email use, something they desperately want but cannot get without paying for pricey short courses.

Seavyi's internet workshop

It’s really exciting to see the communities spring up around this place, even within a few short months. I think we’ve got a really great year ahead of us and we’d like to invite you all to come visit some time!

Cheers, Kinyei

Open Workshop on Creative Expression

Here are some details on the next Open Workshop, covering creative expression and cross cultural communication!
Objective/Description: To share an experience of self-discovery and dialogue through the creative arts; writing, movement, visualization and a hands-on art project.
You don’t need to consider yourself an artist to engage in creative expression! Join us at a Creative Arts Open Workshop to enjoy the process of creative self-discovery – for yourself and with your colleagues. Learn how to communicate and express your ideas and concepts in a variety of different ways and reap the benefits this has to offer when working cross culturally. Don’t let different languages and culture be a show stopper. Explore new creative ways to communicate in the workplace this Saturday!
Kinyei will provide refreshments and a Khmer translator for the workshop. For those who express interest in attending we will send a vocabulary list through so participants can start thinking about the types of creative concepts that will be discussed and referred to often in Saturday’s workshop.
For whom: For colleagues who would like to explore new and creative ways of communication and to improve their own personal and professional development. Ideally, we are looking for 5-7 pairs of colleagues, one foreigner + one Khmer.
Who’s behind the workshop: Amit Janco is a Canadian woman currently volunteering at the Emergency Surgical Centre in Battambang. She has been involved with the creative arts since childhood; dancing, singing, writing, gardening, photography, design, sculpture, pottery and many other art and media projects. She has spearheaded community-wide arts projects and led art classes in Nepal. After surviving a serious accident two years ago, Amit turned to the arts as a therapeutic and meaningful way of rehabilitating from her injuries and to deal with pain. She has since been leading creative arts workshops, primarily for groups of women and sufferers of chronic pain. Wherever she lives and travels, Amit is always excited about engaging others in creativity, in helping people discover their unique gifts and potential for self-expression.

Open workshop on women’s reproductive and sexual health

On 10 February Kinyei’s Open Classroom hosted its first women’s reproductive and sexual health workshop. Speaking to 17 participants from diverse backgrounds, a team from Battambang’s Romero Center presented the three hour workshop covering anatomy, mentrual cycles, sex, pregnancy, common diseases and treatments, when you need to see a doctor, and hygiene.

The second half of the day saw a “training for trainers” workshop, where fourteen social workers and housemothers received tips on how to present workshops on women’s health effectively. Most importantly, the participants learnt how to navigate sexual health issues in Khmer culture and how to help participants feel comfortable sharing their problems.

The workshops were attended by representatives of five different local NGOs, showing that the Romero Center’s program will have a lively future in Battambang. Participants enjoyed the workshops immensely, with one 40 year-old woman saying, with a beaming smile, “[t]his is very good, I have never been able to talk about these things before.”

Tedx Phnom Penh

110205-TEDxPP-068Channe Suy 'Building the Future of Cambodia Starts with Sharing'

If things have seemed a bit silent over here at the Kinyei site this is because the team has been busy helping organise Cambodia’s first TEDx conference! Over 150 people attended, with many more viewing via a live web feed as some of Cambodia’s most inspiring speakers presented on the theme “building the future.”

A representative team from Kinyei attended including Phalla, Untac, and Alex. Speaking for all the attendees, Phalla felt positively “motivated to make changes in society” after the conference. It’s hard not to agree after watching the talks, which are all available online here.

The team were particularly impressed by ex-ad-man Mike Rios, who urged people to ask not “how to make money,” but “how to make meaning.” Mike’s energetic style raised plenty of laughs from the audience and his theme of changing cultural values was carried further by Kounila Keo, who described how young Cambodians were finding unprecedented freedom of expression and escape from social restrictions through blogging.

Besides a change in values, many speakers suggested changes in Cambodians’ education. Sithen Sum urged people to take their education into their own hands, while Phloeun Prim reflected upon the importance of cultural and artistic education to a rebuilding nation.

In the context of Phloeun’s talk, the music, dance, and live visual art performances throughout the day, including live painting and chapei performance by Keeda Oikawa and Kong Nai, hip hop dancing by Tiny Toones, and traditional smot chanting by master Keot Ran and student Srey Peu showed the way forward for the “transformation of the nation through the arts.”

The event was received very positively, with Tharum Bun claiming that the line-up “collectively represent[ed] some of the brightest observers of modern day Cambodia,” and Thomas Wanhoff praising the day for being not just “rational,” but “emotional.” Blogger and social business entrepeneur Leigh saw the event as “an incredible blend of thoughts and cultures.” Congratulations to all involved!

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