A Travellerspoint blog

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MY CAMBODIAN ADVENTURE - Cold today - Really?

sunny 28 °C

DAY 11, MONDAY, January 14th

No windshields to scrape; no cars to defrost! But morning routine favours a little laziness. Awake at 6:45 – pull on my ACODO T-shirt and shorts – grab my shoes outside the front door – 8 minutes walk to the orphanage for 7:00. As soon as I step in through the front gate, I have enthusiastic greetings from one or two stray kids. One or two others dash for the classroom and by the time I put down my hat and papers, there is a full contingent, reciting: “Good morning, Teacher…..” This first group is the cutest group of little kids I have all day.

Well, today there seemed to be something amiss. Two of the girls were sitting under their desks, and I couldn’t coax them out. It turns out that it is too cold today. I believe it is 28 degrees! We turned off the ceiling fans, but there is one at the front on the same switch as the light for the board. We need a light for the board – the only light in the room. Finally there was a compromise: We all helped move the desks three feet away from the front. Back to being a happy class. Even the light switch works! Last week, I got tired of jiggling it for 5 minutes, or having one of the boys do the same. I took it apart after Friday's class and said that I would fix it. It required a new switch, and I have found an electrical shop. One of the older boys, Bunlang, saw me and assured me that HE would see that it was done before the weekend was over. Either way was fine with me. He did it for me on Friday night! (No scandal of Canadian woman electrocuted in orphanage in Cambodia.)

Another class, and then I go for breakfast. One more, then it is the 4 hour lunch break. It has been whittled down to two. I help Jasmine with reading at 1:00 each day, and I come back to the school at 2:00 because one of the older boys has asked me to help him with difficult English words. I think up the words and then he works on them. Next time we discuss those words and I give him others.

My student from the morning, Honghav, was concerned. I was encouraging conversation in his class, today. His friend Pang, is a more confident speaker, and when we talked about sights in Siem Reap, it was hard to get much from Honghav. I finally suggested that Pang had a tourism business and he had employed 3 classmates to do tours, while he did the organizing. Now I, the wealthy American tourist, needed Honghav to tell me about the tour he would be doing with me. Explain a tuc-tuc etc. He did o.k. but I know we can continue with this. I said we would continue in the next week, as they have exams this week.
14 Jan. TUC-TUC. ACODO's tuc-tuc is used when the van breaks down.  Bunling brought the younger kids home from Khmer lessons in the tuc-tuc today.

14 Jan. TUC-TUC. ACODO's tuc-tuc is used when the van breaks down. Bunling brought the younger kids home from Khmer lessons in the tuc-tuc today.

I went home for an early night.

Posted by Sue McNicholas 01:56 Comments (0)

MY CAMBODIAN ADVENTURE - The bad side of it.

DAY 12, TUESDAY, January 15th
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Off to a shaky start. Mr. Montezuma has come to visit. I think the revenge is because I am not that sympathetic when anyone has aches and pains. I did brag that I could eat absolutely anything! Well a temporary setback that will make me stronger- though chills and sweats at the same time as being “woosy” doesn’t make me feel very strong. My kindergarten class moaned when I said that I had to leave before the end of class. Another volunteer arrived this week, so we are o.k. for covering all classes. I was very fragile, so I ended up gingerly going home after resting on a bench for some time.
15 JAN - I borrowed the hammock from Pay for the entire day. I left ACODO during the first class.

15 JAN - I borrowed the hammock from Pay for the entire day. I left ACODO during the first class.


I slept all day, except for clocking 1 km on my pedometer, between the bed and the bathroom. I slept and slept and was determined to be back in class in the morning. Finally the clock crept on till 6:00 and it was getting light. I was a bit better.... I thought I'd stay in bed till 6:30..... but by then it had started to get DARKER??!! I had lost all track of time. What a relief - another 12 hours till morning. I needed it.

Posted by Sue McNicholas 02:07 Comments (0)

MY CAMBODIAN ADVENTURE - Don't try this at home.

DAY 13, WEDNESDAY, January 16th.

This played out just like Tuesday! I managed to walk up to the balcony, and spent the entire day in the hammock, in the shade.
16 JAN - Today I left ACODO during my first class once again. I spent the day in the hammock and later, by the pool. I've never been sick 2 days in a row - NEVER.

16 JAN - Today I left ACODO during my first class once again. I spent the day in the hammock and later, by the pool. I've never been sick 2 days in a row - NEVER.

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Posted by Sue McNicholas 02:16 Comments (0)

MY CAMBODIAN ADVENTURE, Back to normal -Jan 17.

sunny

DAY 14, THURSDAY, January 17th

What a relief to feel human again! Honest – I am much more sympathetic, now. Imagine: I had never in my life been sick 2 days in a row!

I am happy to be back in class and the kids seem to be happy I am back. I noticed that the wobbly desk that broke last week is gone and that another is starting to lean- with the gentle help of 2 boys. It now has a bamboo brace, but the old rusty nail slips out from day to day and I wonder if my quasi- 2nd grade is contriving for a different lesson plan. Each day Tuor beats the 2 nails back in with a rock…. Then rocks the desk to test it! Today I have Duct-tape! Six twists around each nailed end of the bamboo, and even Tuor thinks it is strong enough! On to the numbers: How tall? How small? We will be measuring…. in what? It must be Metric - the French occupied, not the Brits! That fact also explains the good bread that can be bought here – fragrant, crusty baguettes, delicious pastries – a great variety of little treats. None of that in Thailand – the French never occupied Thailand. We had a fine class: attentive kids, and an upright teacher!
17 JAN - Hanging out on the swings between classes.

17 JAN - Hanging out on the swings between classes.


Today’s classes all went fine. This is exam week for the older students - in other subjects, so our classes are: the finer points of pronunciation, reading, and those dreaded parts of speech, and strange tenses – which I would never know about, except that I studied a foreign language.

As I am almost back to normal, I went to town after classes, but the street food looked a bit too daring. I settled for buying more books for the students - the "lending library" will start on Monday. I rode the bicycle around - once you realize few Cambodians die of traffic accidents, it is a great way to get around: nice and breezy; fast and yet slow enough to see all the sights. My bedroom light is too dim for reading by, so this was an email catch up night.

Posted by Sue McNicholas 21:20 Comments (0)

MY CAMBODIAN ADVENTURE - an interesting evening

sunny

DAY 15, FRIDAY, January 18th

Another interesting day: classes were good. First class we accomplished more: Reading: a letter b, or p or s + a vowel + 1 or 2 letters. Then I showed a count down of 10 fingers (for complete silence) then all could shout out the word. It gave better chance to the slower readers, and enthusiasm by all. Stickers for the foreheads- as it showed that the brain was doing all the good work. Other classes were equally satisfying. I went home for lunch break, but I was back in time to watch dance practice. I enjoyed watching Kimlin (or Vannet?) gently coax the girl’s poses and decided to stay for the show in the evening. It was wonderful as always.

Following the show, Visna asked if I would stay and eat something (unusual). I refused politely and set off out the gates, but saw a low table set up. Tash, Sandor and another man were sitting relaxing with food in front of them and beers. I reconsidered, and relaxed with them, and later Visna.
18 JAN - A few pints after the show. Me, Veasna, Mr. Hengchhea and  Tash.

18 JAN - A few pints after the show. Me, Veasna, Mr. Hengchhea and Tash.

18 JAN - Mr. Hengchhea's dream. He is the inspiration behind the orphanage and the farm- which will eventually support the orphanage.

18 JAN - Mr. Hengchhea's dream. He is the inspiration behind the orphanage and the farm- which will eventually support the orphanage.

18 JAN - Veasna, Mr. Hengchhea, me and Sandor. I listened to their stories of fundraising during the rainy season. Camping out on concrete under the skies, around the countryside with 72 children. Now that's brave!

18 JAN - Veasna, Mr. Hengchhea, me and Sandor. I listened to their stories of fundraising during the rainy season. Camping out on concrete under the skies, around the countryside with 72 children. Now that's brave!


Talk got to reminiscing about past ACODO things. There were funny stories about them + 72 kids traveling the countryside, fundraising in March (hellish hot) and being rained out (not funny). Then, I realized that the unassuming man was the other founder, Mr. Hengche. It was wonderful to spend the next 3 hours just relaxing and chatting; hearing of past hurdles and of problems they now face. I really am humbled by this entire experience. It was great to find that a man I admire so much is just so down to earth and accessible.

Posted by Sue McNicholas 23:28 Comments (0)

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