Tuesday, 12 February 2013


Personally non-attachment has to be the most difficult of the Buddhist teachings.  As I prepare to leave Sisophon, Banteay Meanchey, and all that has become so familiar to me, letting go is so very hard.  The one year mark has passed and I feel there is so much more I could accomplish in the next year now that I have a real sense of what is possible. But alas, I must leave the work to someone else and move on.  Yes, it will be very, very. sad to say good-bye but I suppose I am destined to have new adventures.  A few of you have asked me to describe the work I have been doing, so before I move to my new placement in Kep Province in the southern coastal area of Cambodia, I will do a photo journal of my work over the last 8 or so months.

I attend ceremonies at the Provincial Office of Education

I get to sit at the head table with the governor and eat cobra soup (no kidding!)

I sit on the stage at the "crowning" of a new District Office of Education director. 

I drive across rickety bridges to get to my school

or smell cassava drying along the road to one of my schools

I help build the capacity of the school director by supporting him with school development plans  which involve community and school staff. 

Child-friendly schools encourage school gardens

I participate in schools supporting community events
I do observations to help teachers improve their teaching

I give speeches in this case at International Day of the Child

I get to marvel at their abilities (he was successful at going over the elastic:).

As was she!

Support school libraries

Train teachers for the VSO pilot of teaching English at the grade 4 level

Support and encourage some very good teachers

An enthusiastic English student 

I work at finding funds to build a new building...in this case with Enfant du Mekong.  (speaking French has helped)

I get to work with teachers who are keen to improve their teaching and their school

I organise resource making workshops for teachers

I help out with enrolment campaigns to promote education in the rural areas

With music blaring to get the attention of families regarding the new school year.

I help teachers to decorate the classrooms to make them child-friendly  (this is a before shot) 

The same classroom a few days later

and the children love the new look of their class



And pure sweetness on every visit! 

Even though the building is scary dangerous, classrooms get decorated

Then, I get to be the gift-giver as the Grand Forks Rotary Club, and my family donated funds for a  kiosk 

The two heading off on the moto to fetch a hammer

Oh so proud of my community! 

orchids on every corner and flowers planted around the outside

Community, staff and students are so excited to finally get  a cherished kiosk! 
So, there you have it folks, a summary of what has kept me entertained and loving every minute of my volunteer work.

Just an update on my last post about Savann's family.  Just after my last post, a women gave the family $3000 so they could buy some fill and build a house that will be out of the swamp/sewage where they have had to live through the years.  I will include below some of the photos of the changes happening.  It is amazing what can happen.  The money buys enough for 50 truck-loads of fill, and the construction of a simple but solid small house.  So, this year, they will be live through the raining season without raw sewage around and in their house.  I am also going to help out with buying some flooring.  Eventually, they will be able to afford more fill, screens, and start their garden again.  Who knows, maybe this year their chickens won't drown.

a before shot of their back yard

Savann discussing plans with the builder

truck-loads of fill 

another before shot

Watching in amazement as their land is transformed

What a big toy! 

And saying goodbye to friends whom I hope I will see again...sometime.

The beautiful Mey who is an excellent translator already!

Savann and Sokear...the best of friends

the crew from Along Veng

And the adorable Santi!  

And now, a glimpse of where I will be heading for the next year...maybe two...as an Educational Management Adviser.  The title hasn't really gone to my head!

Thanks to all of you for all your comments.  I love that so many of you are staying in touch.  The hardest thing about being gone for so long and being so far away, is that your lives move forward without me.  I am so grateful that you write and keep me up-to-date on the goings on in your lives.  I miss you all so very much.  As tears start to fill my eyes, one of my house geckos is running across my leg!  Guess it is just trying to keep me grounded!

Love, thoughts, and hugs.