Antibes – Mougins – Oscar – Bewley – Cambodia – wow!

In CategoryJohns blog


This last weekend, Valentines weekend, didn’t just casually happen – it was the result of a lot of very hard work from whole teams of people.

As you can see from the Blog immediately below this one, the show was performed by the very wonderful Bewley Café Theatre team – an Oscar Wilde incredible double bill of ‘The Remarkable Rocket’ and then after an interval ‘The Happy Prince’.

Michael James Forde of Bewley Cafe Theatre on Cap d’Antibes on Valentine’s night.

These next four photos were taken during the second performance of The Happy Prince on February 15 2014.

Do you see the snow!? Yes, they didn’t just have coloured lights – they had a snow machine!


Next is Michael and Theatre Team right at the top of Cap d’Antibes by the lighthouse.

Hilary, below, is very much the European face and driving force of EducatingCambodia, our schools, Clinic and projects. Hilary lives in Antibes on the Cote d’Azur, France.  Hilary has rarely appeared in this website; she is simply brilliant – Antibes currently donates as much as the rest of the world combined – thanks Antibes, thanks Hilary. This photo was taken after the Valentines Show – with her husband Jean Pierre serenading the troupe and friends at home on Cap d’Antibes. xx


The weekend also saw the flowering of a relationship between our Schools in Cambodia and Mougins School ( between Antibes and Cannes on the Riviera).. … Hilary came up with the ‘Hearts’ idea over lunch with Louise and Sue from the School.

‘That’s a brilliant idea, we can do that!’ said Louise and Sue – and so it was that 200 children from Mougins decorated paper hearts and posted them to Phnom Penh.

I collected the hearts and opened the parcel in our Cambodian classrooms. Mougins had enclosed 200 ‘blank’ hearts… Our Kamchay Mear children had never used a crayon – or paint or felt tips. We bought boxes of crayons.

The results are remarkable. I posted the Cambodian hearts back to France and sent photos by email.

The hearts arrived at Mougins on Valentines Day, the very day of the first of two performances on Cap d’Antibes.  The photos of the hearts from Cambodia are below and this is part of an email that I received TODAY from Mougins School:-

“ We received the hearts and it was perfect timing. …Valentine’s Day! I brought the package to the Valentine’s assembly and showed a short film of us all decorating and receiving hearts to the tune of “Happy” by Farell Williams.The kids loved it. We opened the package in the afternoon and gave out the hearts to every class. I gave a little speech saying that Mougins School was about learning from each other ……. in speaking different languages or looking  or acting differently we can learn from each other and share our experiences. We all have alot in common and we all love our family, friends and are happy!

The children were very excited to receive the hearts. We now need to help them to understand that some children in Cambodia, parents and grandparents have never learnt to read or write before. They are really beginning to learn how to hold a pencil and draw for the first time. it’s hard for our children to understand this. We at Mougins have a lot to learn and teach our children so thank you so much for giving us this opportunity. We look forward to the next exchange!  Love from Mougins School.”


Here are some of the Cambodian hearts being coloured with notes below:-


Antibes has not only cared for the ‘Antibes School’ but very much helped with all three schools and the clinic AND the teachers house. We asked the Two Chuor Ph’av Schools to receive and enjoy and return the two hundred Hearts. I am only telling you this because The Antibes School is freshly painted whereas as you’ll see in the photos, the Chuor Ph’av ‘campus’ is desperate for a coat of paint. (it’s OK, it will get done this year).

The other intriguing thing to see in the heart photos is that the desks are covered in what we would call graffiti. There is no (zero) graffiti anywhere in Cambodia. Teachers EXPECT students to decorate their desks with notes and squiggles!

Today in addition to the hearts there will be a few Ozzy trip photos – just to encourage EVERYONE to visit!

I say, and mean, please everyone – come and visit. By this time next year we will have built our “Guest House’ in the villages; so It will, for the first time, be a reasonably comfortable stay near our schools.

In an earlier blog I talked about the possibility of a GUESTHOUSE actually in one of our villages close to the schools. Well – it IS happening and I’ll tell you lots more about that in a blog next week and as the building goes up, news will unfold. The Guesthouse for visitors and volunteers is being totally and  separately funded by three people.

This is the land that we have JUST bought.


It has a 50 metre frontage and is 60 metres deep. It WAS two rice fields so we have, as you can see, added 2000 metres of soil to take the land well above flood levels and up to road height. (more next week.)

Everyone wants updates on children and families that we are watching grow. I had told Antibes the latest on Nang and daughter Peery.

Nang, our miracle mother recently dropped from 45kg to 26 kg but is now up again to 35 kg. Nang has Myesthenia Gravis which would have killed her time and again here.. but we fight with her. Nang and our struggles and the loss of many are our inspiration for The Clinic.

Nang is a wonderful mother and her daughter Peery in blue is a joy and very bright.


I update a lot of our village children on the website. Chanthay ( remember the brick teddy bear?) is in yellow.. These photos were taken on January 30th 2014.


We are working closely with The Cambodian Government. They have very little money but can make decisions. I’ll explain more next week but briefly, we have a government recognised Clinic and Pharmacy (built by YOU) and the government will provide us with visiting Doctors and the first nurse (the female nurse standing on the right of two male Doctors) and WE will fund-raise for a District ambulance. The ambulance we want is a large second hand American ambulance costing US$20,000. If we had the money we would buy it tomorrow – this is it in a sale yard in Phnom Penh.


We have no transport between the villages and so a Beaudesert Rotarian is donating the money for a Troop carrying style tuk tuk. We will get this in April. This is the model we are looking at.

Trip from Australia.

So these four photos are four of hundreds from my guided tour of Cambodia. (I’ll do a BIG posting of that Australian trip next week along with a whole range of updates). The Trip photos were taken over the last three weeks of and by The Australian visitors. The tour actually takes months of organising and negotiating … but it’s well worth it. These four photos are just a taste of what’s to come next week. Nine days in Cambodia by The Rotary Club of Beaudesert:

It was a day longer than this time last year..

These photos are

1. 100s of steps leading up to Sombok Mountain temple on the Mekong near Kratie. 

2. Trying and succeeding to find the very rare fresh water Mekong Dolphins.

3. A floating tethered raft picnic spot in rapids on the Mekong.

4. I’m not showing you ANOTHER photo of Angkor Wat… this is the Australian group on January 22nd 2014 in an outer walkway, 800 years old – at Angkor Wat.


If you look for blogs around one year ago you’ll see that the trip is longer this year.

Thank you to all our friends everywhere and today it’s a huge Merci beaucoup to the families of Antibes and Mougins School.

Much Love from us, all of our children and families to all the children and families in France and everywhere… xx

PS next week the Australian tour of Cambodia.

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