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Christmas Supplies From The Isle of Wight

Well it certainly won’t be a white Christmas for us this year. It was hoped that we would return to England for Christmas, but it wasn’t to be…..Parts of Cambodia are experiencing their coldest snap for more than 30 years, but not quite cold enough for snow !

The other day we were surprised to receive a package that had been delivered to our good friends Dave and Ester. P1050928 It was a box of goodies from back home as a treat for us over Christmas. To many the goods would not seem very exciting- a local newspaper, some cycling magazines, a box of cereal, coffee, some (lots) of chocolate, a calender and a special gift from Ireland…plus other small gifts but it was a real surprise and the gifts are greatly appreciated. The calender is from the Isle of Wight and it is nice to see pictures of England’s green and pleasant land.P1050936P1050945

I still try and keep busy out here and played in The Phnom Penh Five-a-side football tournament the other week. I think we all surprised ourselves by coming 4th overall and just missing out on a medal.It was held over two days, very well organised and finished with a presentation dinner which was well attended. We got to keep the kit which we played in which was the Napoli kit ( light blue ). I felt quite pleased with this until my daughter told me I looked like a Smurf….maybe, but certainly not as fat !

So we have just six more months out here before returning home and the last 18 months have gone quickly since I left my “proper job”. Do I regret it ?….Absolutely not and I look forward to next year and continuing to help those I can at Daughters   http://daughtersofcambodia.org/

Independence Monument

Independence Monument

A Whiteboard Donated From The Isle of Wight

Last week when I visited the slum that had been flooded I found another need there. Nothing as maybe desperate as the rice and shelter that have been given out before but still a need. I was surprised to learn that one of the residents there is giving English lessons twice a day to some of the children and young adults. They are keen to learn and he speaks good English and is keen to teach them but as any teacher will tell you, a classroom needs a whiteboard so they can explain what they are teaching.

Well when you don’t have either you have to adapt. The classroom is the path and road where they live and instead of a whiteboard they use the wall. They have no pens or chalk so the teacher will scratch on the wall with broken stones or bricks so that his pupils can see what he is writing…they are so keen to learn English.How many back home would go to these lengths to learn ?

Teacher and 2 students in front of their old blackboard.

Teacher and 2 students in front of their old whiteboard.

Whiteboard gladly received along with pens and eraser

Whiteboard gladly received along with pens and eraser

This whiteboard was purchased with money from a generous donation from somebody back home on the Isle of Wight………Now, a proper classroom needs tables and chairs..

It looks quite easy to deliver from this angle......

It looks quite easy to deliver from this angle……

...a little different from this angle. Good job she's not driving!

…a little different from this angle. Good job she’s not driving!

..more happy smiley kids

..more happy smiley kids

One Blog…….One Year On

I have been writing this blog for one year now and have been amazed by the response that it has had. I decided to do it really just to inform people back home ( mostly on the Isle of Wight ) of what life is like here in Phnom Penh and in Cambodia. Nothing could have prepared me for the things that I have seen and the way in which people live their lives….but I have been so blessed to be able to help some , in some small way, and to get to know so many friends out here.DSCN3476

Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is also one of the most corrupt countries in the world and has an appalling record on Human Rights. For many people here there is little hope and they just survive from day to day….nothing more. P1050300The people here have a completely different mindset to that of those of us who live or come from the western world. To see how people live in the slums out here ( there is no word for slum in the Cambodian language ) is something that all should see as they will realise how fortunate most of us are just to have a roof over our heads.There really can’t be many more desperate countries in the whole world although I know that some( North Korea ) are worse off, and others as well. But what never ceases to amaze me is how content and happy the people here are. Ask anyone who lives or works here, or has visited this wonderful country.I know many people and families who live in slums here but they are such loving generous people, they will always make you feel welcome and appreciate any help that is given to them. They are born into poverty, they do not choose it and most just want to work and provide for themselves and their families……but therein lies the bigger issue. Many have not received a good education,if any, and therefore cannot read or write to enable them to get a good job. P1010233Manual work is available here but the wages are low and often the working conditions certainly on the building sites are dangerous. Many women work on the building sites and have their children with them all day. I have watched them build a four story block of flats behind my house with the children running about on the third floor…and with nothing to stop them falling over the edge. The women work hard doing the carrying, the lifting and shoveling…all this when they are pregnant as well.

There are many other things that I could tell you about what I have seen and learnt..but I may well bore you…the traffic accidents, the day to day struggles of those who live in the slums and those that I work with, the unwillingness of some to help, the injustice that goes on in this country. I have looked back over my previous blogs and find that there is so much that has had an impact on me over the last year..the friends, the tragedies, the fun, the frustrations….but then that is life sometimes and we must always move on, never fall back.

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So….I don’t want to change the world ( who sang that ?) but I want to change people’s lives and to show them Hope in this fallen world……If you would like to know more about the situations that people face out here then please get in touch, or if you would like to see it first hand then again get in touch and I can accommodate you……it will change your life. One blog..one year on…and one changed life.

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