Well I survived two hours in the monsoon on a motorbike – rocking a great look in my ‘convenience raincoat’!(everyone wears those pastel plastic raincoats with hood! There was an amazing big red sky on the way home so I had the two extremes of motorbiking : )
You may have seen my FB (link to facebook profile) posts but in case not let me fill you in on progress at the school. The kids are doing amazingly well both at reading and writing English – considering some of them couldn’t write their name even in Cambodian just a few months ago, they are excellent students – all so keen to learn. I spent time with each of the three classes, did an exercise out of the school book and then read them a story where they repeated the entire thing after me! – They learn by rote here which isn’t always the best for learning to speak English so they wanted to practice the correct pronunciation, so it was a good opportunity. The words they get most stuck on is plurals, adding an S after a long word is too much tongue twisting, so they need to practice (just the same as i need to practice my Khmer tongue twisters too!)
I had drawn a larger version of the land map so we walked round the property, which is actually much MUCH bigger than I thought, so very exciting for the future plans of making the school sustainable and a really great thing to do for the family who own the land. Kimsan’s father was abandoned and wandered into the village aged about 5 and was taken in by a distant relative. Obviously he went through the Khmer Rouge regime and then his son Kimsan was born in a refugee camp in 1985. Kimsan was telling me how he wishes he knew when his birthday was… I guess being born in the camp was an added complication rather than something to celebrate.
The important message this family can send to the village is although they were desperately poor, Kimsan’s father believed if they could educate their children it would change the future for all of them. He has done all the jobs he can to avoid sending his children to work and has managed to give all his 6 sons an education despite all the village telling him he was too ‘proud’. Kimsan was the first person to go to university and now is in a position to help others (his father wants to lend the land to help others as well, even though he only earns $80 per month)
We measured up the best place for the workshop and met a builder who gave us a rough idea of cost but said it would be much cheaper if we built one bigger building rather than two separate ones… I asked for the price for a library as well as books are not available so one of my ideas is to set up a free library for the whole village. And eventually we want to add a workroom for the boys for woodwork, basket weaving etc. I am waiting for a proper costing for the complete building and hope this is okay with you and your fellow funders if we attach the other buildings (using additional funding I am currently raising) Obviously if there is money left over I will let you know, but if there is I would like to spend it on additional equipment and training.