The King Father – Norodom Sihanouk

In CategoryJohns blog

I took some photos last night and the others this morning; they are of the incredible, stunning, amazing crematorium to be used for The King Father Norodom Sihanouk on Monday February 4. The King Father died on October 15 and he has lain within the adjacent Royal Palace since being brought back from China where he died. The Building – ALL the buildings, pavillions and seating stands and plants and pathways have been built specially and are ALL TEMPORARY. The area will be returned to parkland after the cremation. If you look carefully you can perhaps see that most of it including the rooves are in fact plastic.

The King Father is known to most as King Norodom. He became King and ruled through the last years of French colonial rule and then the better days of the 50s and 60s -  then there were arguably corrupt governments, US incursions and carpet bombing raids during the Vietnam War (you can read articles and see maps on this elsewhere in this site). King Norodom then survived the Khmer Rouge but was under house arrest in his palace(!) – one of the few people living within Phnom Penh during those four years. He later abdicated in favour of his son who is King Sihamoni… but to most people Norodom was still King.

Tomorrow begins the 7 days of mourning with many embassies warning their expats to stock up on essentials because little will be open. Tomorrow is the big procession right through the centre of Phnom Penh. I will try to take a photos of crowds if nothing else. Several mllion people have come from the provinces for this funeral. Phnom Penh is packed. The Queen Mother – Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, King Sihamoni and a great many dignitaries will be within the special pavillions on Monday. John.

Beaudesert Times – January 16 2013

In CategoryJohns blog

If you look down to two post below – dated January 18 2013 – you will see a full story of the Beaudesert Rotary Club visit to Cambodia and our villages in particular. On January 16 an Australian newspaper, The Beaudesert Times, published this article. It covers the essentials of the visit very well. It also covers WHY we are helping these villages.

If you are a first time visitor to our website then you might enjoy looking to your left and browsing through any of the sections listed. You’ll find stories, photos, ways to donate and why donate! John.



In CategoryJohns blog

 Elise from Douiai - representing La France!

Bon Chance Antibes this coming Friday and Saturday evening on Cap d’Antibes. They will be fabulous shows starring the wonderful Welsh tenor, playwright and story teller - ARWEL TREHEARNE MORGAN.. Have a great time everyone. Much love to you all from the children and families here in your villages. Read the post below for more … much more…. John.

Rotary Club of Beaudesert visit our villages and then have a holiday! Jan 10 – 17 2013.

In CategoryJohns blog

Please look at the posting dated January 6 2013 for the preparations for this visit and photos.

Nine Australians from the Rotary Club of Beaudesert and our French Exchange student from Douiai near Lille in northern France, flew back to Australia today from there very successful and happy trip. In today’s post you’ll find 40 photos and the story of their trip.

They all came to Cambodia to see our villages and our schools. Their stay became a holiday also. We travelled together in a private hire bus from Phnom Penh to the villages and from there past the border with Vietnam to the Mekong River town of Kratie to see the many great things Katie has to offer. From Kratie west and then north to Siem Reap, the home of Angkor Wat’ and then south back to Phnom Penh – a one week holiday!

The route was S21 and The Killing Fields and historical things in and around Phnom Penh and then a days market shopping…. the cheapest markets in the WORLD! – I havent included photos of the Phnom Penh section in this blog update. There are sections with stories and photos within this site that cover earlier visits to all the places we visited during the week, but these are brand new photos with brand new people.

We went from Phnom Penh to Chuor Ph’av in the Kamchay Mear District of Prey Veng Province to our villages and schools and Clinic – where there are photos (in the Clinic)  Three posters in there of donations made this past Christmas by a grandma to her grand kids instead of Christmas presents. (see the blog below).

Today there are everal photos at Chuor Ph’av Schools and the tumble down looking but very popular tuck shop with kids buying – using some of the 500 Riel that we always give when theres a ‘visit’. 500 Riel is a red note that’s worth 12 cents. The Beaudesert Rotary group also bought a huge cupboard for the school and paid for the schools to be painted inside and out and to get thewindows more securely fixed. (again see below)

If you can recall (you’d have to have a good memory) twin boys with shaven heads (lice) taken 4 years ago. (the original photo is in the site section ‘schools’ if you look to the index to your left) Theres a picture of them today aged eleven. These boys are especially poor and sadly very malnourished. One of our very obvious goals is to improve village nutrition combined with sanitation and health!

We then went into the village to the house where I live (theres a big table) for lunch (photo) and then onto Antibes School in the village of Prey t’Baing. It is named the Antibes School because Antibes in France contribute a lot to its overall upkeep.

We still need donations from anyone or everyone to help our three schools, the new Clinic and our farm projects. Look to the index for the Donate section. Without your help we cannot function. Please remember that we have 1000 children and we employ NO foreigners and just our nine Cambodian teachers. I am not paid and no admin staff are paid anywhere.

Elise from France took on being the representative for Antibes..She asked a million questions about money, purchases and Antibes itself! Soooo there she is proudly with The sign  and in the classrooms. We gave Antibes School 500 Riel a piece too and recently paid the teachers for a year and built the pump you see in the post dated January 6.

The next thing we need to do at that school is a finishing coat of fine concrete on all floors – if you look carefully you can see its very rough. We also need to repaint the school inside and out and eventually buy three new blackboards.

We had hired a bus for our five days and so now we travelled north to Kratie on the east bank of the Mekong. In and near Kratie we visited temples at the top of endless steps; we went on boats to see the VERY rare Meking dolphins; watched delicious palm sugar being made with lots of skill and hard work with pulleys and wooden paddles until fudge like. We had a meal over the Mekong after crossing causeways to rapids where we could paddle.

The journey to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat is an eight hour one so we broke it with stops in markets and wood fired brick works.. Photos relating to all this are included today and as I say if you were to browse through the entire site you would find other similar photos.. Several of the markets sell everything from deep fried tarantulas to cockroaches and crickets… and no the tarantualas do not taste like chicken, they taste like tarantulas fried in old oil.

Siem Reap is very much the tourist city for Angkor Wat. We had two days in Siem Reap. Theres a ‘floating village’ with lots of kids holding snakes for ‘photo 50 cents’ and hundreds of families living on little homes on the water. We saw lots of touristy things including an Apsara dance troupe (the precurser and original for the much later Thai dancing) there’s a photo of some of us with the dancers. There is a large section on Angkor Wat and also on the early history and old battles with Thailand within this site.

Angkor Wat is an incredible complex of many temples and ancient buildings. I chose two for everyone to see in our all too brief a visit. Angkor Wat itself which is by far the biggest religious building in the world and incidentally the only real building to appear on a national flag! The first photo of Angkor Wat is of the inner causeway at 8am – and the second was taken at 10am…quite a difference.

Ta Prom is most peoples favourite with a symbiotic relationship with the jungle that was covering it and still does to a certain extent … if the temple falls so do the trees and vice versa!

It was a wonderful week staying in good and very inexpensive hotels. Many great memories for for the nine Australians and one French Rotary Exchange student… BUT… mostly it was wonderful that 1000 children can carry on with their Education and I can ask you, dear reader, to try to help us too if you can. Within Australia donations are tax deductible. John.

The Rotary Club of Beaudesert (Australia) visiting next week!

In CategoryJohns blog

Nine Beaudesert Rotary Club members and one Rotary Exchange student from France will visit our villages next week… (and then they’ll go for a short holiday in one of my favourite areas, Kratie… then two days in Siem Reap and back to Phnom Penh)… so there will be photos and stories to come right here in this blog in a couple of weeks from now.

To get us right up to date before their visit I’ll add nine photos!

Our Beaudesert Roatarians have individually sent money in advance of their trip for such things as their travel within Cambodia but also things for the schools. Often we spend money on books, clothes and shoes. You can see in the previous blog that salaries have just been paid. THIS TIME we are doing things for the buildings themselves – plus one big storeage cupboard (see photo). We will paint the buildings inside and out (progress photo) and also make some insecure windows more secure.

In the past two weeks an individual donor has paid for 300 chicks and 100 ducklings. You might recall and see in an earlier blog that a donor (same donor) has already paid for a LARGE chicken shed in readiness. The chicks and ducklings are currently in our small rearing pens (part of the donation)… Chicks and ducks are so far doing well. I’ve added a phot of our nearest little prodice store run by my friend the VET.. so we gets lots of free advice and buy feed that we can’t already grow ourselves for our animals.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you will understand why we seem to have got into FARMING!! Its simply to raise the potential income of village families from its current $1 per day so that the villages can eventually contribute to THEIR OWN schools and clinic.

You’ll see a photo of the Prey t’Baing school with a pump and well out front. A man is standing proudly by his pump. He is the Prey t’Baing village leader and with money given by Antibes in France, he dug it and built it for us. His name is Pun Pointe.

We now have names on all three schools, recognising the major contributions from Beaudesert Rotary, Captains Choice (travel company from Melbourne) and Antibes in France. All maintenance, books etc and teachers salaries at the Prey t’Baing Elementary School are now being paid by donations from Antibes in France so that School is ‘Antibes School’. Our middle school in Chuor Ph’av is ‘The Captains Choice School’ and our first Elementary School is ‘The Rotary Club of Beaudesert School’. John