Saturday, 27 October 2012

# 12: "..Education is Light, lack of it is Darkness.."

 After my first full week of teaching Ethics and Philosophy to the children, staff and House Parents at CCT, I am filled with awe at the amazing spirit of the Khmer people. 
 Without exception, every person I have dealt with so far is helpful, kind, thoughtful, gentle and hungry for knowledge. From the kids & staff at CCT to the kids on the street, the shopkeepers, waitresses & Tuk-Tuk drivers, it seems everyone is trying to learn as much as they can. From questions about Australia, to 'exotic' animals from faraway places, to efforts to improve their English, their curiosity is seemingly endless and their enthusiasm for the Ethics program is truly heart warming.
My adults class have asked if we can make the lessons ½hr longer, apparently 1hr is not enough and even some of the other NGOs are expressing interest in adopting our program..
 I now have a wonderful Khmer Trainee Teacher, Chantha, who's at Uni here in Battambang, studying Teaching & English. She knocked back a scholarship so she could continue to volunteer at the Youth Centre to do classes with the kids there, 5 days a week. She's been acting as a translator for me so far and because she already knows the kids, she's a great help.
The aim is to have her teaching her own Ethics & Philosophy classes as soon as possible and then to start training another candidate and then another and another etc etc..Now Chantha will actually receive a good wage for her work. I'm so happy for her!

Here are just some of 'my' kids from the Youth Centre - this is CCT's project to help some of Battambang's 'street kids' get a square meal a day and, at the very least, an introduction to a formal education.

These beautiful children are in my Kindergarten class -
For their own safety, they shall remain nameless....

  (I'm obviously still having trouble formatting these photos..gggrrr)



 The kids always give me the proper Khmer greeting, little hands together, head bow and, in their very best English: " Good Morning Teacher".
Then i get " Hallo Day" delivered with their beautiful, big smiles, lovely giggles and lots of hugs.

I guess it's pretty obvious why I consider this to be my own, very special version of Paradise...

On Thursday night Nat (CCT's Medical Coordinator), Phil & Louise (Volunteer accountants) and I went to a performance by the kids at the much talked about Phare Ponleu Selpak -

PPS is a Cambodian developed organisation which is helping underprivileged kids to break the cycle of poverty by giving them a supplementary education in music, dance, art and circus performance that will enable them to become professional performers. CCT has about 1/2 doz kids attending classes here.

The show is reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil and their acrobatic feats are absolutely extraordinary!
The 'Big Top'

Unicycle Juggling
 Unfortunately my camera died halfway through the performance so I can't show you the girl who lay on her chest on a table with her chin resting delicately on the surface, curled her legs back over her head until her feet were flat on the table in front of her face then, with her left foot, picked up a bow with an arrow already fitted in place, lifted it up about 1/2 metre, drew back the string with her right foot and shot the arrow through a balloon that was a few metres away!!
 Or the awesome 'Toppling Tower': after one boy pulled off a high somersault to land on another boy's shoulders, a third acrobat jumped from knee to shoulder, knee to shoulder to land gracefully atop the 2nd boy's shoulders. Then, when the stage was filled with jumping, tumbling, spinning  6-packs (eye-candy ladies), the Tower began to slowly tip forward. Remaining as rigid as a pole, the trio reached nearly 45° before each of the boys turned the fall into a perfectly executed tumble, followed by 'hands-free' cartwheels and backflips while the audience were still gasping.

 I'll try to get some of Phil's pics to add here when i see him next.

I did get shots of some of the Artwork that's been done by the students:

Khmer Man

Khmer Kids catching fish
 Soaking up the Khmer culture, learning a little more Khmer every day and teaching the most receptive students any teacher could hope to have, my journey continues to be an enormously exciting, delightful and very rewarding experience..



  1. thats great ma!

    its quite cool just how many people and programs are out there trying to enable the Khmer to improve their country, their peers and themselves.

  2. Love the pics and that artwork is amazing! It's great to see that there is such diversity in the skills being taught through various organisations. Artists and musicians were two of the most targeted groups in the genocide of the Khmer rouge regime so it is particularly profound that these skills are being encouraged again. These things are as important as other, more traditional education in the re establishment of the Khmer culture.
    I'm so glad that you are getting opportunities to experience such a range of different aspects of the re emergence of the Khmer nation. It seems like the perfect time to be there, just as the seeds planted over the last 30 years by amazing people, both local and foreign, are beginning to really bear fruit.
    In years to come you will be proud to say "I was there when......" xxxx

  3. It is indeed astounding just how many programs there are Jay. Tara is currently looking into alternative education projects (apart from mine...)to improve the education standards, the relevance of the curriculum and the future employability of all children in Srok Khmae (what the Khmer people actually prefer to call their own country, as I discovered today..)
    As usual Baby girl, your comments are spot on. If you check the link to PPS you'll see who started the program & why. And yes, it seems to be the perfect time to be here, especially to be doing what I'm lucky enough to be doing..
    I love you both and can't wait to see you.

  4. Your Babies are just darling, Di ♥
    And it was lovely reading your account of the performance - you have such a way with words :)
    Looking forward to your next Post, mwah xx

    1. Thanx Shell, reading Jas and Jay's comments I only wish I could express myself half as well as they do.
      Much love to all the Wozzas!! xxxxx