|My artwork on my gate.|
I am hoping this finds everyone well and into spring/summer mode. It won't be long before those of you in Grand Forks will be floating down the Kettle to cool off. I'm trying to imagine the lovely cool CLEAN, CLEAR water of the Granby! Oh well, I will certainly appreciate the water and the mountains in a couple of years. Wherever you are, summer is just around the corner so it won't be long 'til the lazy hazy days!
Here, every day is a melange of challenges, frustrations, rewards, and delight. It is amazing how one's perspective changes and the little things that can cheer one up. When I find I am getting lonely or in the dumps, I just get on my bicycle and cycle around the neighbourhood. I can't tell you how much it delights me just to see the lovely warm smiles and hear the giggles of the people I greet. I have started walking in the early morning and I just love all the people I meet on my round. Going to the market is getting easier too the more I do it. I am either getting better at understanding the prices or I am caring less about how silly I appear as I say the numbers over and over in my head trying to figure it out. It doesn't help that in Sisophon they have their own way of saying prices! Took me a while to figure that out.
|The stash from THE parcel! It was so awesome . Thanks Tracey, Anna, and Gordon! |
p.s. Vomith loved your energy rolls Tracey (I only share one though. Kept the rest for myself.)
Pics from the model school
|Students working in the school garden during recess|
|playground at the model scho|
|Students using the library at recess|
|just hangin' out in the playground|
|Recess is over|
Thursday, I went to a school that was by far the poorest school I had seen yet, although Vomith tells me that most rural schools are similar. As we were driving past the community, I was thinking that this is the Cambodia that few tourists really see. Then, when we turned into the school, I was overwhelmed. There is only a very small area that is elevated which doesn't flood and contained old painted tires for a playground. Beneath both buildings, there is low land which fills with water as does everything surrounding the school. One of the buildings was made of dilapidated boards and I was afraid to actually go up the steep crumbling wooden steps and walk to the classes as I was afraid to fall through the floor boards. The teacher told me that students drop books and pencils through the boards only to get ruined or lost . Last year one of the students fell through and ended up in the flood water. Luckily he knew how to swim. The teachers and director were so welcoming and were afraid that once I saw the school, I wouldn't want to help them. The director is so eager and said he would take whatever help I could give him and his staff as "tiny steps is better than standing still"! There aren't enough books for all the students so they work in groups of 4. How could I refuse to help! Apparently if I visit them in the rainy season, I will have to go by boat! (I wasn't sure how serious they were about there being a boat though; I think I just don't visit them then.)
Oh but the students! You should see their smiling faces! They are just so unbelievably cute. They stand and hold their hands in front of their faces like in prayer as you walk into the class. Absolutely adorable! When a student answers a question, he/she stands up, thanks the teacher with the prayer-like gesture then answers the question. If it is a good answer, everyone applauds. Before going out to recess, the students stand, do the gesture, thank the teacher very much for teaching them, then wait until the teacher dismisses them. All the classes I have observed, the students are paying attention, and doing what they are supposed to be doing. One class was a 5/6 split class with 40 students in the class--26 grade 5's and 14 grade 6's. I have seen classes as big as 46.
Now, for a walk around my neighbourhood.
|This wedding is the reason I got up to put earplugs in at 5 am this morning!! The music blasts out to the street for days. Thank goodness for earplugs.|
|Just walking down the street.|
|A young monk going from house to house.|
|These coconuts are awesome. And a good tree produces 200 a year!|
|Your typical corner store. That is gasoline in the bottles...for one's motorbike.|
|One day I saw one of these heading towards the market without a driver and loaded with sacks!|
|Treacherous on my motorbike!|
|This fellow goes through peoples trash.|
|The reason there are blood-sucking disease infested mosquitoes!|
|Walking along here when I remembered about land mines. Oh dear me.! I tiptoed to the next road following the mucky tracks.|
|Traditional Khmer house|
|No, not Grand Forks!|
|The neighbourhood butcher.|
|One of the fouls that can't tell the time!|
|Training him to chauffeur her around.|
|One of the cleaner drainages.|
|Can you see the 2 kids? 1 in front of the driver and one between the parents.|
|2 of the many reasons I haven't started running yet.|
|The construction of a school behind and beside my house.|
|These are buddies I practice my Khmer with. Very short conversations!|
On Friday, I am heading to Rattanakiri which is in the north east of Cambodia to visit a fellow volunteer, a Canadian I might add. It is a 2 day journey one way as all roads lead from Phnom Penh. It is one of the more remote and wilder places in Cambodia so I am looking forward to a swim in the volcanic lake and seeing waterfalls, and perhaps a rare glimpse at some exotic animal... but not spending 4 days travelling on bumpy, pot-holed mucky roads, nor having the exotic animal be a centipede. The trip has become a mini-reunion with 5 of us who arrived in Cambodia at the same time, 2 Canadians, 2 Scots, 1 Dutch. I am very excited.
The intense heat seems to have eased off since the rains have started. There are some pretty spectacular thunderstorms most days. The deluge lasts for a few hours but usually subsides. I love the coolness in the air (a relative term you realize) during and after the rain. However, there seems to be a downside to everything. I'm noticing more MOSQUITOES about these days! The Dengue-Malarial-transmitting-blood-sucking varieties too. Guess I need to get vigilant about wearing repellent.
Found a dead rat in my courtyard this morning. Think I will do something nice for the cats that are hanging out at my house...perhaps the juice from my tinned fish!
Well, I hope you enjoy. Next post after I get back from Rattanakiri.
Take care everyone and love your feedback. The responses and emails keep me going. Miss you lots!
Lots of love and hugs from afar.