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International Children’s Day

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.

The first of many speeches

The first of many speeches

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Gifts to be given to the poorest-note the Buddist shrine in the top left hand corner

Gifts to be given to the poorest-note the Buddhist shrine in the top left hand corner

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 !

Kids with gifts

Kids with gifts

DSCN3504After 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.

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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…

Ready steady go!

Ready steady go!

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Can school really be this much fun?

Can school really be this much fun?DSCN3487

Logos Hope

FSCN2438The other week we traveled to the south coast of Cambodia to visit the Logos Hope.http://www.gbaships.org This ship is the largest floating bookshop in the world and stayed in Cambodia for three weeks. It was good to get away from the hussle and bussle of Phnom Penh and enjoy some peace and quiet.The beaches were lovely and the water clear and warm. We stayed on board for two nights and then it was back to Phnom Penh and back to work.DSCN2439DSCN2441DSCN2440DSCN2460                     DSCN2410DSCN2413

I’m Still Standing….Just

Monday started well enough as after language lessons we had some visitors from World Vision in Holland who were staying with MTI for five days. In the morning we showed them around one of the slum areas that we work in and introduced them to some of the people we help. We then took them to lunch at a place called Daughters of Cambodia which offers jobs, security, and hope for the future to girls who want to get out of the sex trafficking trade. It is a restaurant where the girls are taught culinary and waiting skills and they also have a workshop where the girls can learn to sew and make bags, clothes and other items and are given other opportunities to better their lives and forget the past and move on in life( http://daughtersofcambodia.org/ ).

After lunch we then went back to the office and into another slum area where MTI had helped build a house for a lady recently. I went to bed that evening feeling fine but woke up  soon after shivering and with a temperature. I slept most of the following day and went to see a Doctor that afternoon who after much prodding and poking and taking blood told me that I had an infection from parasites caused by a scratch on my ankle that had not healed from playing football. They patched this up and I was pleased that it was not malaria as was first mentioned.The following day my other foot had swollen up quite badly and they attended this also giving me more tablets to take.While laying on the bed I saw a pair of obsolete crutches standing in the corner and asked if I could use them as both feet were now bandaged.It was not to be,as the Doctor looked at me and said..”waste..of..money”. In other words-Man Up! I payed my bill which was about $100 (£60) in total and is covered by insurance and was leaving when the nurse gave me a roll of tape for the bandages.”For free” she said and smiled. Thanks I said but I would of rather had the crutches…DSCN2479