Saturday 1st June was International Children’s Day. To celebrate this most of the schools in Phnom Penh had a special ceremony at which they invited various dignitaries, donors and people who had supported the school over the last year. I was asked to attend as I had passed on some money that was donated by Waitrose to pay for some plants for the school and for the four school buildings to be painted.
It was nice to be invited and when I arrived at 7.30(a.m.) I was shown where to sit with other “dignitaries”-next to the Head Table. The children were all lined up in their various classes-the school has nearly 1,000 children in total-and waited patiently while all the speeches were being made. I was given the honor being moved from where I was sitting to be given a seat at the Head Table next to the Headmistress. I wasn’t as much moved as forcibly manhandled and made to sit in the main seat of honor by the Headmistress herself. This is how much she respects and is grateful for the money that was donated by Waitrose-it really does mean that much to her and the school. Last year Waitrose turnover was about 2.8 billion pounds. The money given for projects here in Cambodia I think is probably the most valued of all that has been through Waitrose tills !
After the speeches the poorest children were asked to line up and receive special gifts of snacks,books and pencils, and bags (which were donated by our organisation). All the children were given a Soya drink enriched with nutrients.
To round off the proceedings there were games-good old fashioned egg and spoon race,a sack race, and a game that involved two children squeezing together to burst the balloon between them. No health and safety here but the children had so much fun…