May 2008

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Arun Sua s’dei,

 

Glittery gold and shiny gems – May was all about getting creative and having fun designing jewelry. Thank you Jessica! Jessica Thompson shared her artistic talents with our kids at the Center in mid May. She taught her class of 12 eager students how make ‘head pins’, set and wrap gems, and ultimately put together some beautiful earrings and bracelets. That day, and everyday since then the students and their friends have been sporting their new sparkly accessories.

 

Now, the hope/plan is to have Jessica back in August for round two of the training, which will even include metal smithing, as well as the use of fine gauge wire and more precious materials. Wooo hooo!! We are on the road with some of our first vocational training classes. Stay tuned.

Around the Center, the kids are all busy with finishing up school for the year. The 9th – 12th graders all have big year-end tests and seem to be more at school and in their books than anywhere else. The kids are usually up at 5:00 for showers and breakfast then it’s off to school until 11:00. Some stay at school for lunch, while others come back to the Center – then school and studying again from 1:00 to 5:00. After that, everyone is back for dinner, and with Khmer soup and rice in their stomachs, some study Korean and others English from 6:00- 7:00. The high school kids are then with me for an hour, followed by possibly one more hour working on computers or doing further English studies. No body pushes them. They push themselves and each other. It is truly a sight to see.

Some of the extra classes they take are taught by hired teachers while others are simply taught by the older kids who have set up a time to work with the younger kids on a particular subject. I can’t tell you how happy I am that Thany has started teaching an English class for the older high school students who need additional support and Kosal and Abraham are team teaching an English class for the younger teens. Their classes run from 8:00-9:00 Monday to Friday. The energy and interest is amazing.

What’s up with the EVT (English and Vocational Training) program:

A very exciting prospect and extension of our jewelry design project is the plan to rebuild our ‘craft room’ where we are currently hand weaving kromas and silk clothe. At the moment it’s a simple one story room that no matter how many fans you turn on, or windows you open, is hotter than an oven on Thanksgiving. It makes hand threading a loom or wrapping a brass briollette a challenge when sweat keeps running into your eyes. We are working on raising funds to build a two story, air-conditioned space for custom tailoring, weaving, jewelry design, and traditional craft production. Oh boy!

Kids’ Library:

Sometimes there is more to setting up a library than you might expect. So I thought it would be easy to run into Phnom Penh and pick up the bookshelves, desk and shoe-rack that I had order for the library. Actually, it was. It just involved some fun. First, Thany, Vuthy, Khamera and I found a truck at the Center that we could use to pick everything up, and with a little coaxing it started. We drove a mile or two and had to stop for gas, after which our baby wouldn’t start. Okay so we push started it – no problem. Now we were off and running again to get the furniture. Loading went well and everything just fit. Okay, so once again the push starting – uuuuuhh a little heavier with a full load, but okay we got her going. Ooops… we made a right turn on a red light. Stopped by the police. $2 later we were on our way again. Well, that is after yes…. push starting the truck in front of the five policemen who were just hanging out on the corner waiting for those traffic law violators, which is just about everybody. Getting hungry, we had to stop for lunch. Yes, we knew that it would mean push starting the truck yet again. Stomachs full and we were off. Wait! There’s a lot of traffic, now the car in front of us is backing up so now we are backing up. Ooo… loud horn! Angry man now at the window of our truck. We piled out expecting to see a destroyed Lexus behind us. No (big sigh) he just wanted to show us that we got very close. Thank you sir! Fortunately, we had left the truck running so there was need for yet another push start. Back a the Center, we unloaded and collapsed for a bit. The library looks awesome.

Things learned:

1. Have your furniture delivered!


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