Wednesday, May 23, 2012


By Evan Sayer

Food! food! food! Where else in the world can you get food better than the American Embassy School's.

Open Hand Rocks! 
Sit down, relax and enjoy your food! Open Hand Cafe has many options for meals, pastries, and drinks. If the temperature is cold outside try a hot chocolate and a hot muffin to warm you up, or in the summertime you could try a sandwich and a milkshake to cool you off.

Lots of Food for a Little Place...
What little place has a lot of food? The Kiosk of course! You can get home-made food straight from the AES kitchen or get packaged items that are branded. I prefer the home-made AES food, though.

Are there Seconds?
Yes there are. In fact, you can get as much food as you want here at the cafeteria. There's a whole process of getting food: You wash your hands at the hand-washing station, get a tray, pick your food, sit down, and eat it!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


A true story by Evan Sayer.

Clickity Click! Clickity Click! went the chains on the bikes as we road along the bumpy Angkor Wat road.
"May I have some water?" asked my sister.
"Sure," answered my Dad. We all hit the brakes.
"Wah...aaAAAHHHH!" my sister yelled as she tumbled off her bike. "Ahhhhh!!! Ahhhhh!! she screamed again and again as blood dribbled out of her head.
My mom flagged down a car as my dad helped my sister up. Me and my mom locked the bikes up and ran to get into the car.We pulled up into the 24 hour emergency driveway. A man came out with a wheel chair. As the man wheeled her in the emergency room with my Mom, me and my Dad walked into the waiting room. We got some hot chocolate and sat down in front of the TV.
"The stitches are done," said the doctor an hour later.
"Finally!" my Dad gasped in relief.
After talking to the doctor and going back to our hotel, we were all happy again.

The End.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Last Den Meeting

by HouseBoy

Evan and I had our last Den meeting with New Delhi Pack 3060 on Saturday morning. We decided to end the year with a special event and arranged for a "safari" ride with Champa the elephant along the Yamuna River. We used the ride as a way for the boys to earn their "Naturalist" badge. The boys were asked to spot and identify 12 local bird species (the badge requirement is six so they easily made their goal!). The floodplain along the edge of the river is a good spot for "birding."
The morning ride took the boys through a local nursery and a green belt and finally under one of the huge metro-train skyways that connect Noida with Delhi. As parents and scout leaders, we trailed behind the boys in the dust doing our best to avoid Champa's giant bombs of elephant poo.
At the end of the ride the boys returned back down the road to the rally point, and a few of us explored along the edge of the river to see what we might find. We uncovered two rather unique sights... The first, according to the sign, was a 40 year old temple to Ganesha, that had been built as a way to honor the buried remains of an elephant.
The second discovery was a little more interactive... a local "ferry" used to take farmers across the water to an island situated in the middle of the Yamuna. Of course we had to give the ferry a try. The raft was made from the ultimate in recycled materials: Plastic feed sacks sown together and then filled with Thermocal (Styrofoam) waste. Very buoyant
It was a great morning, and a unique way to celebrate the boys' scouting experiences together in India.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rajasthani Puppet Theater

by HouseBoy

I'm always amazed how kids can create something new and fun out of almost anything...

After the AES Science Fair, we were left with two large cardboard tri-fold displays...  Being a parent who is gearing up to move back from India to the US, I keep scrambling for ways to give things away. Recycling is something that is fortunately really easy to do in India... just about anything is adapted for a second, third or even forth use. When Audrey saw me trying to slip the cardboard displays out the front door, she would have none of it. I asked the typical parent question: "So these giant tri-folds are going to sit in the corner collecting dust until we move?" Audrey was not phased by my resistance to hanging on to yet another piece of school memorabilia.
"Don't worry," Audrey reassured me. "I have an idea."  Against my better judgement I let the subject drop, and Audrey held on to her beloved tri-fold displays.

This past weekend, Audrey and Evan began construction of a large structure in our living room. It was hot outside, so I let them go for it... not really knowing what the result might be. "It's a surprise, Dad," Evan told me.  Blankets, pillows, chairs were all placed in the center of the room. Held in place with string, yarn and beach blankets. Buried in the center, unmistakeably, were the two cardboard tri-fold display boards.

Voice recordings were made, music was practiced on a keyboard hidden behind the structure.. Lesa and I were shooed out of the living room on several occasions. Then finally the big announcement was made: "7pm Show time" exclaimed Audrey. " Right at the prescribed hour we were treated to a Rajasthani Puppet Show, with sound effects, incidental music, puppeteering (the kids dusted off their small collection of puppets from Rajasthan) and a very wacky, but original story.
The puppet stage looked great - complete with fringe, curtain and of course, the tri-fold cardboard displays! Couldn't have been a more perfect way for our kids to create some fun indoors on a hot Delhi Saturday.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The 2012 Pinewood Derby

by HouseBoy

Evan participated in the Cub Scouts 2012 Pinewood Derby race. It's probably the Cub Scouts biggest event of the year other than our campout... it generates a whole lot of excitement with the boys and their parents.
Pack 3060 (New Delhi) had about 33 entries this year... seven from Evan's Webelos 1 Den. A couple of US Marines from the Embassy agreed to help out by officiating over the launch of each four-car heat. Evan's green "Random Bus" is in lane 3 in the photo below:
These races have become pretty sophisticated.  Each car has an official weigh-in and measurement. The cars must be no more than five ounces, and no longer than seven inches. HouseBoy was a part of the "pit crew" this year, helping the boys with last minute weight adjustments and wheel/axle repairs. Power tools, hot glue gun, tweezers, and graphite powder for lubrication - we had it all! The track is timed and monitored via sensors and a laptop connection. Software automatically tracks the heat, den and the overall winners by both speed and time.

Evan's car was named the "Random Bus." It was his own design. Aside from a little help with sanding, he did it all... design, painting and decals. We had some speed issues last year, but I guess we learned from our lack of success. This year Evan's derby car burnt up the track!.

He placed first in his Webleos 1 Den competition (1st out of his seven) and 2nd in the overall "Grand Finals" competition (second out of 33 cars). Pretty amazing.
 Great Job Evan!

Monday, April 16, 2012

2012 AES Science Fair

Evan and Audrey both came up with some pretty cool projects for the 2012 Mary Kelley Science Fair Projects.  This year the fair had almost 200 participants from the AES elementary school. It's not a mandatory thing, so I'm glad the kids were both excited to participate.
Evan and his best friend, Dylan wanted to try creating a maglev train - not an easy thing to do. They conducted research on magnetism, and the properties of magnets and discovered that many ordinary, everyday tools use magnets to function. With the help of a local carpenter, and design ideas from the Internet, we created a track-base out of wood.
I went on a journey to the huge electronics market in Old Delhi to find a shop that sells magnets.  I discovered three stalls there (market opposite the Red Fort) that sell nothing but magnets -all shapes and sizes! The magnets (small, very powerful ones) were about ten cents each. The boys used these to make our track for the "hover" train.
The boys worked on building their own "car" out of Lego pieces, and put together a fact-filled information display. Great job, boys!
Audrey chose to dive into a lesser known discovery made by Charles Darwin - the properties of Phototropism. For those not in the know - this is how plants grow toward a source of light.
With just a little guidance from mom and dad, Audrey conducted the research in the Internet, and developed her own display board. Both experiments received great comments and reactions from fellow students, teachers and parents. It was fun to work with the kids on their exhibits - I learned more about these two subjects than ever before!
HouseBoy is glad both projects were a success...and are now just more happy memories of our lives here in India.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Evan participated in this year's ES Track and Field Event... seemed to enjoy his events: Long Jump, shot-put and the 200 meter run. The kids trained for about six weeks and then competed by grade level.
Audrey continues with her horse skills 2 times per week at the Delhi riding club. Lesa rides with her now for most of the sessions and seems to enjoy the mother-daughter time, despite the occasional fall. Evan and I enjoy the rides as well, we get to relax, read and drink a cup of chai with Ms. Beeru, the club's proprietor.
Last week, the kids started up again on the ES swim team at the American Embassy School. The are both drilling a few day a week after school on four strokes:  freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, and breast. Evan's favorite is the breast - he has one of the top three times for this stroke...
Audrey definitely prefers, freestyle, and is the second fastest on the team.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


by HouseBoy

Evan had a second chance to learn more about archery with the Cub Scouts this month. Delhi's Pack 3060 organized an Archery Training session at the US Embassy for our four dens.
Safety training, and archery techniques were reviewed and coached by two Scout-certified "Range masters." We also had the assistance of three embassy US Marines. The marines were on hand to provide range safety and archery tips for the boys.
Evan's group showed incredible improvement over last year's session. He and his fellow scouts demonstrated good technique and consistently hit their targets with accuracy.
Because the boys have grown stronger and taller, they were able to draw back their bows with greater ease and confidence. As a result, Evan and his den-mates spent a lot more time concentrating on targeting and stance.

By the end of the morning, the archery targets looked like swiss cheese! It was a great way for us to spend a cool, Springtime morning in New Delhi.

Monday, February 13, 2012


by HouseBoy

Audrey had her first big trip without parents a few weeks ago... 3 days and two nights with her fellow 5th grade students on Safari in Ranthambore National Park.. The kids rode on the early morning train for the six hour journey to the park. They all stayed in several local hotels and enjoyed tasty Indian meals.. Although it was short, their trip was packed with activities. The 5th graders visited with area school children, learned about regional dance and art and they ventured out into the jungle on three separate safaris. They rode in large open "canters" like the one Audrey photographed below.
Our family has traveled out in the early morning on four separate occasions in three different National Parks in India (Sariska, Periyar, and Jim Corbett) to see tigers, but have never actually spotted one. Ranthambore is famed as one of the best places to sight the illusive Bengal Tiger (the world's largest cat), and for Audrey the park didn't disappoint!  And she has the photos to share her experience with us!
Audrey snapped this beautiful photo of a large tigress who happened to wander within 20 feet of her cantor. This female was on the prowl, in search of a meal for the day.
It was a great trip for the AES 5th graders, filled with wonderful memories for Audrey to cherish.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Evan's Tenth Birthday!

by HouseBoy

Evan celebrated his birthday this past weekend - it was BIG number ten, and was the fourth time we organized birthday festivities for him here in India! We managed to pull together a whole weekend of activities with some of his best friends. Audrey and two of her good friends helped out with some of the activities.
Everything kicked off with a big sleepover.  Two of Evan's buddies, Louis and Dylan came over for the night. Audrey and her friend Emma joined in the fun as well. The girls were a huge help - they baked a cake, wrapped gifts, made cards and went on several trips to our local market for snacks and supplies!  Our local rickshaw driver was a very happy guy, because the girls used him several times throughout the day to haul their many bags of goodies. The evening ended with a movie and the new FIFA 12 game on the Wii.
Day two took us to a Sports Restaurant called Underdoggs in one of the swanky malls located in Visant Kunj. The party kicked off before noon. Nine kids had the place to themselves until the lunch crowd started rolling in. Underdoggs is full of games - table tennis, pool, darts, foosball, shuffleboard, carem, video games (wii, ps3 and xbox) and, the unforgettable "sumo" wrestling.
As with many things in India, safety is not always the first consideration - Sumo wrestling was conveniently set up next to the dart boards, alongside a floor-to-ceiling length plate-glass divider. To compensate, we strategically placed parents to keep kids from smashing into walls and getting poked by flying darts.
There were no injuries, and the kids looked hilarious, in their foam, latex and Velcro suits. Think "Michelin Man meets Sumo Wrestler" costumes. There was more bouncing, flopping and tumbling than actual wrestling. But everyone had wide smiles!
The party ended with double chocolate cake from our favorite bakery - Red Moon and plenty of snacks (some of which were accidentally raided by boys from an adjacent birthday party...)

It was Monday morning, after the dust had settled. The kids were getting ready to head off to the morning bus and school. Evan's face got very serious and then he smiled: "I had a really good weekend. I think that was the best birthday party I've ever had!"

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Killing Fields

by Audrey Sayer

In Cambodia, "the Killing Fields" are a sad, but special place. Lots of people go there every day. Some to pray, some to honor the people who died, and some just to learn about it.
There are many killing fields in Cambodia, but the biggest one is outside of Phnom Penh. This is its story:
In the 1970's the leader of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot, killed over 70,0000 people in this place because they were smart enough to know what he was doing was wrong. His soldiers dug pits to put the dead or almost-dead people in. The killed men, women and children - even babies. Across the country over 2,000,000 people died like this.
Today there is a memorial filled with human skulls to remind people that killing your own kind for no reason is inhuman, and unforgivable. Now the Killing Fields are peaceful and sad places. The ground there still remembers...

Cambodia is not the only country where this happened... it is all over the world. We must not kill for power.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Land Mine Museum

by Evan Sayer

We went to the Land Mine museum in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It is near Angkor Wat, which is a famous Temple complex.
Here's the history of the museum:

In 1999 a man named, Aki Ra founded the museum on a small dirt road near Angkor Wat. He had been a child soldier with the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. He created the museum out of straw huts to protect the deactivated explosives from war. Aki Ra started de-mining in 1995. He has dug up thousands of these. He opened a new museum in April, 2007.
Aki Ra did this because he said "I want to make my country safe for my people."
This is very important because many people are hurt each year by old land mines. There are now 100,000,000 unexploded land mines in the world! 5,000,000 of them are still in the ground in Cambodia.
The museum tells people that life is hard (especially when there are land mines in the ground!)