Our Ambulance – Ready for shipping to our villages in Cambodia! – and a letter from John.

In CategoryJohns blog

A very big ‘Arkun cherern‘  Khmer for – ‘Thank you very much‘ from everyone in the villages to: The Rotary Club of Beaudesert and all its friends – to Eva and Roland Andersson in Sweden – to Ros and Ken Rokison in England – to Chanthou Oeun in Cambodia for all her organising – to Jana Zehr in Australia – to Steve Gillow in Australia – to Richard Kerkham in Australia – to Linda and Mark Jackson in Australia … and to the many other people who have helped in a hundred different ways with this huge and literally vital project.

It is two years since we first talked with people both within Cambodia and around the world about an ambulance –

– Our Ambulance is today in Beaudesert, Australia – I am also in Beaudesert.

We will ship the ambulance from The Port of Brisbane to The Port of Phnom Penh very soon and I will meet it there, and with some of our village Leaders we will drive it to our remote District – the District of Kamchay Mear in Prey Veng Province.







We will make sure its 100% compliant for our conditions and regulations and it will become THE Ambulance for our District – covering all of our villages and liaising with Clinics and distant Hospitals. In return the District will supply us with visiting Doctors at least every week and advice and support for our Clinic at the Chuor Ph’av Schools.

We have often written about health, hygiene and nutrition – this ambulance will obviously play a key role.

We talk of wanting nurses or student nurses to visit us and volunteer with us – along with The Guesthouse this dream is now a reality – so please contact us to visit and volunteer. Within a few weeks we will officially launch the Guesthouse as the base for visiting our villages and volunteering in our Schools and Health Services.

A big thank you from all our Cambodian children for the amazing efforts and work and monetary donations to get our very own ambulance!!!!

The names of the donors are on both sides of the ambulance.

The Ambulance is a Toyota four wheel drive diesel.

It was essential for our muddy or dusty condtions that the Ambulance was a strong four wheel drive – and it is. In Cambodia we will need such things as paramedic medicines, bandages etc, Oxygen,  and a number of pieces of Paramedic/Doctors equipment but otherwise as you can see from the photos the Ambulance is complete.


The last four photos were taken last week -before our sign writing was done – the day we drove the ambulance from Brisbane to Beaudesert.

Linda and Mark Jackson with their grandson. As you can see from the signwriting, Linda and Mark are two of our wonderful Donors…..
Now to pack the Ambulance into a container and get it The Port of Brisbane. I return to Cambodia on August 16 and will meet the container ship in Phnom Penh.


   Dear friends and that is you since you are reading this,

We are very much at a stage where we need financial help – however small – for ALL of our projects – so many things are coming together and progressing well; we need money particularly for:

All the school equipment you can imagine – Exercise books, Small backboards, large classroom blackboards,  text books for 4 subjects for all our children.. desks need replacing (we make our own).. all buildings need maintaining and painting… Uniforms…  As you may know it is far cheaper to buy ALL these things within Cambodia – we make what we can – we can buy exercise books in Cambodia much cheaper than say your postage – similarly Cambodia makes robust school uniforms. We accept donated uniforms for general wear in the villages and again they tend to be robust and very welcome.

We need to buy in Cambodia, hospital (Clinic) medicines – they are inexpensive in Cambodia BUT we need money to buy them.

Like every other school, hospital etc in Cambodia that encourages volunteers – we will charge people to volunteer and to stay in our Guesthouse but it will probably be cheaper than most.

We offer to you an area which is more remote than almost all others in Cambodia and desperately poor and heavily populated…..

….the opportunities for you or any University student you may know or student or indeed someone on holiday or on a Gap year to be part of the future of the lives of thousands of children are almost unlimited. Maybe you want a ‘sea change’ or are actually retired – contact me, John, or anyone at The Rotary Club of Beaudesert in Australia for advice.

This is the first letter clearly stating that the Guesthouse is ready for business – not only volunteering – also just being part of a Cambodian village! – there will be more of a BIG launch soon.

Meanwhile we are very VERY happy with our Ambulance and there will be many more reports on its adventures…… AND ……

We NEED money – please..  from John on behalf of all the children and all the families….. AND lastly today….

………..I’ve most certainly not forgotten Soit, the girl we ‘rescued’ back to School (scroll down for the story so far with Soit) – more on Soit soon. John.


The ‘why?’ the ‘certainty’ the ‘passion’ and the ‘how?’

In CategoryJohns blog

“If you are ‘certain’ and ‘passionate’ and the ‘why’ is absolutely clear, then the ‘how’ will appear.”  – These are more or less the words of a current Australian writer – Keith Abraham – his words are I think almost entirely true; I say ‘almost’ because there are conditions. I try to deal with them today in relation to our current work in Cambodia.

For the past few weeks, long days have been spent thinking through ‘education” for our children beyond age 15 – also ’employment’ and ‘village health’.

Planning, diplomacy, negotiation and money, together, make it possible for our projects to happen –

– first though we must be CERTAIN that promoting Education and basic help to our villages is the right thing to be doing. A simple look through our website will show what things were like before we arrived and then quite quickly the sequence of letters or updates show that we ARE helping and improving lives on a very considerable scale, for example, in eight years we have not lost one girl to sex slavery, sold overseas or sold anywhere. At any one time we have 500 girls in our schools (and 500 boys)… before we arrived it was constantly reported that every girl who left the village to work and send money home was quickly lost to the sex industry. We thought schools were the answer and the UN agreed with us.. ( United Nations – ‘Sex Slavery in the lower Mekong’ 2008 )…. even when there is a high mortality rate and zero health care, as in our villages, a ‘school’ should come first.

The question ‘why?’ is well explained throughout the website, so then we get to ‘how’? – ‘how’ involves a lot of talking and sharing ideas – working closely with all sections of Cambodian society, particularly in our District covering 30 villages – our schools serve 12 villages – children, families, leaders, village committees, monks, police and all other levels of government including the bureaucracy.

We ask you and everyone else for money and always why we need any particular amount of money. So money is vital for what we do, without it we will not have our projects BUT although money is our basic need, it may not seem to be an obvious part of the real planning and doing but it most certainly is.

Recently there has been a lot of talking and planning for how we can possibly make tertiary education possible for even just a few of our students – and could we create local employment other than their own families subsistence rice farms? It is not necessarily bad that large numbers of our adults go to distant towns or distant foreign owned factory farms or to garment factories – 500,000 Cambodians work in stifling, slave like conditions making well known brands of clothing that we all wear – $3 a day for a 12 hour day – Employment WILL be better if one day our children can work locally.

In Cambodia there is a very good and efficient system of sending money home from distant jobs and returning to the villages to raise families so even from that perspective it makes good sense to educate our children to the highest level possible.

In Cambodia, the village of a person’s family is all important – distant workers return home several times a year to be part of all the religious holidays. Everyone needs the village elders to agree to a marriage, apply for a passport and the village is probably where you will raise children in your wife’s family home and village. Almost all ‘permission’ comes from or passes through the ‘elders’. Village elders are not the same as elected members of the District or Provincial Government. Elders rise from the village gradually by village consensus. Everyone knows everyone. The children are raised by the family and the village. Most local, family and inter family problems, right through to violence, are dealt with quietly by the village and the elders. Right now, in 2015, in OUR villages, village elders are wise BUT that wisdom is limited because OUR children are the first to EVER receive an education.


Some weeks ago I said we were working on an educational future for Soit – you might recall that we brought Soit back from farm work in far South West Cambodia to our school  to resume her education (this is only possible through the financial assistance of Ros from England). Bear with me a little longer.. we have a plan for Soit and  Soit is learning basic English.


We have been talking for 18 months about an ambulance. We will be able to make a positive and definitive announcement about an ambulance in a very few weeks.

Working behind the scenes for Soit and all our children for that matter requires money and we are very very grateful for specific donations. The ambulance and regional health support that will come from us supplying an ambulance comes from diplomacy, negotiation and money from targeted donations ie “I want to give money to help to buy an ambulance.’

Two of our police –

– the smiles in these photos are not simply diplomacy; we actually LIKE the people with whom we deal – and just like us, they can judge whether someone likes them or not. As I have repeatedly stated over eight years we have never had an issue with our local or District Police and we have never bribed ANYONE or been asked for a bribe. The man on the right of the photo is the senior policeman for OUR twelve villages – in this photo they had called in for a friendly chat and a cup of coffee. (I have introduced an appreciation of instant coffee to the villages.)

Wat, Kamau’s brother, age 15 – he is sick, so we are looking after him.

Remember Wat? Wat joined our local monastery (coincidentally called a wat) 3 years ago at age 12. When the monastery boys are sick they are sometimes sent ‘home’ to be cared for. Our Guesthouse is the nearest thing that Wat has to a home (other than the wat itself of course)….. so we care for our sick boy monk (he’s not very sick at all – it’s a cold),

Wat’s robes drying upstairs at The Guesthouse.

Yes that is coffee and mango and it is Wat’s washing, drying upstairs – coffee and indeed cigarettes are allowed for Cambodian monks. I have often written about monks and I have nothing but good to say about them. Monks serve a wonderful suite of roles – weddings, funerals, counseling, huge village celebrations on wat land, caring for the mentally ill if the village itself can’t manage – a terrific institution in a country where the State itself can’t manage.

A rare photo. Brother and sister but Kamau, left, knows the literal rules about being this close to a monk (her 15 year old brother) – see below for explanation.

You might recall that Wat is Kamau’s younger brother. (Kamau was married on December 3 2014 – pregnant in this photo taken in late May 2015 – and if you go to the index on the left of your screen and find December 2014 you will find the story of Kamau’s wedding.) They look awkward in this photo – Kamau looks awkward – Kamau was VERY unsure about being physically close to a monk and a literal interpretation of the ‘monk rules’ would say that Kamau is right…. This rule automatically and instantly relaxes if and when a monk stops being a monk!

That’s enough writing for today. A number of things are developing as you can see so I will be writing again soon.

I have to ask for donations. There are many specific projects you can help with. Please..please join us in maybe one area or as some people say “where it’s needed.’

Bye for now, John.



Major Guesthouse News – and an appeal – onwards

In CategoryJohns blog

To frequent readers and to first time readers: We did not ask for one dollar towards building our Guesthouse because it was the private project of two people – Beaudesert Rotarians, Linda and Mark Jackson –

Linda and Mark have given – yes, given – DONATED – the Guesthouse and land to Educating Cambodia. It has been donated via Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) to Educating Cambodia – putting the Guesthouse on almost the same footing as the Schools and Clinic buildings. I say ‘almost’ because the schools and Clinic buildings are on Cambodian Government land; Educating Cambodia owns the land beneath the Guesthouse.

There are thousands of photos on this website and 170 of and in the Guesthouse itself. This photo of the front stairs was taken in January 2015 as the Beaudesert Rotary Club was conducting an early trial run of our accommodation.

We are in a very remote village setting – heavily populated, desperately poor but remote. Briefly we foresee school and clinic visitors and volunteers and indeed people who might want to see or experience remote Cambodia and village life. We will very soon price accommodation to cover all costs and provide money for the schools. We will then advertise appropriately.

  NOW – Educating Cambodia urgently needs US$10,600

Please – we need a total of US$10,600 to complete and pay for the last building jobs.

We can ask for your help now because Educating Cambodia now owns it.  The Guesthouse is now part of our ‘Prey Veng Schools Projects’ and is registered by Rotary International as project number #70656.

We urgently need US$2100 for a solar hot water system, pipework and header tank.

US$  800 for a large rainwater tank with connection to existing gutters

US$7700 for last purchasing of cement, sand, bricks, tiles and labour



How to Donate.

Every dollar counts and adds up.. If you can help in a small (or large) way  then please click on the ‘Donate’ section on the left of your screen and pay by Paypal  – this is linked directly to the Educating Cambodia section of the bank account of The Rotary Club of Beaudesert and the Club then sends 100% of your donation to Cambodia and in this case for the Guesthouse.

If you want to pay some other way e.g. Educating Cambodia’s bank account by online banking then email me personally at fromjohnmann@hotmail.com or maybe a message to our facebook page on http://www.facebook.com/educatingcambodia

Again: to Linda and Mark Jackson,

“Thank you for your VERY kind and extremely generous donation of THE GUESTHOUSE”!

On behalf of all our children and their families -thank you to everyone,

from John.