After three exciting weeks in Cambodia, I am sitting in a hot apartment trying to keep a cool head to write this newsletter. The slightly cooling wind from the ventilator is helping a bit. This is normally a situation I would only experience in Cambodia.
Since it’s probably too hot for any of you to read a long newsletter, I will try to keep it brief and let the pictures speak for themselves.
After only 6 weeks of building and despite tough transport conditions, the Kindergarten was finished with almost Swiss punctuality. Thanks to the restless efforts from our project manager Heang Ho and the builders on site, we were able to finish construction on June 21st as planned. Only the small extension with toilets, a sink and a ‘bucket shower’ still has to be built. This should be completed mid July along with the playground.
Florian Pahler and Sandra Fleckenstein, both members of the Seed’s German association, helped with the preparations in Battambang and accompanied us to Bech Khlok. Kim-Desirée Knorr, our project manager in Battambang, and Samnan, a Cambodian teacher at the Countryside Class, both attended the opening ceremony of the Kindergarten in Bech Khlok. Florian helped with painting, photography and filming, while Sandra held a four-day ‘Free to be me’ workshop for the English students. This is a sort of outdoor education, which teaches the kids trust, self-awareness, bravery, imagination, creativity, conscientiousness and individuality. Two years ago, Sandra held this same workshop at our Countryside Class in Battambang.
On the other hand, Kim and Samnan supported and trained our kindergarten teacher Sokchea during the kindergarten classes in the library, which is where the kindergarten has been temporarily taught since May. The professional guidance and the many tips were a big help for Sokchea. As it turns out, we had to divide the kids up into a morning and an afternoon class. Many of them still struggle to interact in big groups, to share, to follow instructions and to deal with frustration. Some come from very difficult families, and have never learnt that conflict can be solved without hitting. They need a lot of patience, love and attention, which Sokchea can give to them, when the groups aren’t too big.
The following pictures show the ‘Free to be me!’ workshop with Sandra and Samnan (he helped her with translation).
Meanwhile, on the construction site nails were being hammered, tiles laid down, walls painted and on the last day everything was furnished and decorated.