The ethics/philosophy classes are running pretty smoothly now, although kindergarten's still a bit of a challenge.
We covered a topic on "How we Treat Animals", from grade 5 through to the staff, last week and it went gangbusters!
I showed the staff a video on Bullfighting since most of them were unfamiliar with it. WOW! What a response. They were fascinated, horrified and appalled that it continues to be considered a national 'sport' - I think they were all secretly routing for the bull..
The Teens all agreed that hunting elephants for their tusks is TOTALLY unacceptable. I had asked them to score each case from 1-10, with '1' being unacceptable and '10' being totally acceptable.
When I taught this topic back in Oz last year, my dear Alex pointed out that the pictures provided in the course were actually slanted to elicit a particular response, so this time I had two pictures for each case, one pro and one anti.
For the 'elephant tusks' case, everyone, in all the classes, initially gave it ZERO - off the scale UNACCEPTABLE.
My 2nd picture was a starving African child. I asked them: "What if the poachers are people whose children are starving to death because of drought & famine? What if poaching the elephant for meat is the only way to provide food for your family and what if the foreign markets will pay you more than you could earn in a year for a tusk?"
They discussed this for a while and eventually decided to change their score to 10. but ONLY for people in this situation. Only they should be allowed to hunt the elephant.
Sayon said: "This could still wipe out the elephant and that is not good. The countries that buy the tusks must be stopped from doing this. The world needs to help these people to feed their families and maybe they should move to a place that gets more rain, so they can grow their own food.." This child is such a THINKER!!
I then moved on to Whale hunting with Sayon's class and received a grinning "Do you have any video of these giant animals jumping out of the water? Has anyone else seen this amazing thing?"
...Thank you Youtube!!
We discovered that the International school our kids are going to, Dewey, has an Ethics course for all the students. Wonderful, we thought, maybe I could go and check out, talk to the teacher, maybe even collaborate. So Erin asked them to send her a copy of their Ethics Curriculum...
It's a Christian scripture class pure and simple, sneaking in under the radar in a supposedly secular, expensive, international school. NOT COOL!!
Since Tara's in Oz for another 2 weeks, we're just biding our time in anticipation of the expected fireworks when she returns
I haven't had a chance to investigate the country around Battambang yet and I'm itching to do that...although that could just be the mosquitoes...
Incidentally, I believe we're witnessing Darwinism in action here;
Battambang's mosquitoes are absolutely silent ! You don't know they're around until you you discover ginormous bites on every centimetre of exposed skin that hasn't been liberally doused in Aerogard. It's a little bit eerie...
Have they really worked out that making irritating mozzie buzzing noises just gives us a chance to squish 'em before they can carry out their evil mission?
Is this a case of selective breeding through survival of the quietest?
I'd love to know what an etymologist would have to say.
Chhaiya, one of the guys from Kinyei, the-best-coffee-in-Cambodia-Cafe, who make my regular morning lattes, offered to take me out on his moto, to visit his village and check out the countryside, in exchange for more discussions about history, English & geography.
Chhaiya:" What's all that white on the map under Australia?"
Me: "That's called Antarctica.."
C: "Why is it white?"
Me: "Because it's all ice & snow. It's very cold.."
So that's the plan for next weekend - riding out around the countryside. I can't wait.
He sent me a friend request on FB and when my dear Chantha saw his picture she became just a little bit hysterical - turns out she grew up in the same village, went to the same school, knows him well and had no idea he was in Battambang.
Our beloved Pommies, Louise & Phil left us yesterday morning. After 8 weeks of sorting out our accounting systems and doing some training with our own Khmer accountant, they're heading back home, via Nepal & India, to get married.
I got to experience Cambodian red tape first hand on Friday - I had to laugh:
While you don't actually need a licence at all to drive or ride around BB & very few Khmae bother with them, you do have to have a Cambodian licence (US$45) if you want to be covered by your insurance. Which seems like a good idea after witnessing the total absence of anything remotely like adherence to road rules here, and Cambodia doesn't accept an International licence that says "accepted in Cambodia". So off I went with Lavi to get my licence...
Me: ok, I have those..
Official: "Oh, and your address in Battambang. Name of the village, street name & house number."
Me: ummm I live in a village? Silly me, I thought I lived in Battambang...and my house doesn't have a number, none of the houses on my street have numbers and while the street is marked as 'Street 153' on the maps, the locals actually call it River Road..
Official: "Oh, and you'll also need a signed letter from the Headman of your commune saying you actually do live there."
Me: I live in a commune??
Official: "When you have those documents, just bring them to me and I will give them to my Manager's secretary so she can give them to him to take to Phnom Penh next time he goes."
Me: when will that be?
Official: "I don't know, but after he takes them to Phnom Penh it should only be about 3 or 4 weeks until you have your licence."
Considering it took 6 weeks to open a local ANZ bank account, I should be riding my moto, legally, by next year...
CCT had WiFi installed at our house on Thursday. The signal covers the volunteers house and my little bungalow, so no more depending on dodgy dongles. Very happy about that.
And last but not least, I finally remembered to get a shot of CCT's Main House:
|Chantha teaching a grade 5/6 class on the balcony|