Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"
The King will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me." .......Matthew 25

Monday, November 5, 2012

Boeung Rial (Foating Village) update - a joy to behold!

Bringing a school to the floating village, Boeung Rial had always been a challenge. When we finally constructed the floating school for the village we had to deal with the problem of getting teachers for the school. The journey there for any teacher, no matter how dedicated, was challenging. We eventually developed a funding mechanism to support the salary and transport allowances for two teachers to go to the school and teach for 4 sessions a week.

What a joy to behold on this trip, how the classes had taken root. The teachers were a wonderful pair. In particular, the old gentleman who was a retired police officer was so wonderful with the children. It was a real joy to see how the children responded to him, and how eager they were to volunteer to practice their lessons in front of the class.

Praise God!

 Waiting for school

 School bus

  Floating school


So proud of her!

Tablet technology
Happy kids

Sunday, November 4, 2012

School@Chhom Trach - 7 years and going strong!

The very first school we built in 2005, was at a very poor village called Chhom Trach. Now, 7 years down the road, the school is going strong. A couple of years ago it was struggling through a rough patch with a rather amotivated teacher. We had to "incentivise" the government appointed teacher, and appoint one of our own (a retired Christian principal from another school). Now the school is bustling with activity, and the kids seem happy and keen about their schooling.

The school now runs 3 sessions (2 in the morning and one in the afternoon) in  2 classrooms for Grades 1-4.  Grades 3 and 4 are a combined class because of the lack of teachers. There is also a problem of parents often pulling the kids (usually the older ones) out of classes in the afternoon because of work in the fields. We have decided that we will supplement the salary of another teacher/session so that Grades 3 and 4 can be run as separate classes. Then move the older classes to the morning.

The kids continue to receive a free meal once a week. This costs us about US$140 per month.

Supporting the school in Chhom Trach costs us a fair bit. If you feel you can contribute to this effort, please write to me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Floating school@Boeung Rial in need of repairs

How quickly time has passed. Once we had fretted about whether we could actually get the idea of the floating school (literally) off the ground. Now it's been almost two years since we floated the school at Boeung Rial. During the last big floods last year, the school had morphed temporarily into an ark for some of the struggling frightened families.

We visited Boeung Rial just to get a feel of how things had progressed and whether or not the school had been rightfully been returned to the community as a school.

Our worries were unfounded. Juhan, the man entrusted  with the task of looking after the school had done a marvelous job. The school was back to its original function.There are a fairly constant 25 students who come regularly. Juhan had assured us not to worry, saying that he would die to protect the school. Somehow, I believe him. But he shared that vandals (probably drunks) sometimes try to cause trouble for the school by cutting the anchoring ropes. Also sometimes, the storms are too strong for the scrub branches where the school is tethered to. Each time the school loses its mooring, he has had to re-tow the school back. Sometimes there is not enough help, and the gasoline cost of towing the school has begun to be a financial burden for him.

Now, on top of replacing the frequently vandalized anchoring ropes, it is also apparent that the bamboo and oil drum floats of the school need repairs. This is clearly going to cost.

The task for us now is to raise the money to repair the bamboo and the oil drum floats and to provide Juhan with some financial support to pay for the gasoline needed by the boats to tow the school around.