AUGUST 2016: news update: a star pupil: water filtration: teachers: Pre-School: catching up with village children: shopping!

In CategoryJohns blog

The Website

If you are new to our projects or haven’t visited this site for a while – here’s how it works:

Whenever you open the site, first-up, you come to the very latest post or ‘blog,’ like this one – and through the years now, we have hundreds of posts and several thousand original photos, all with their own notes..

As of today we have 1340 primary age pupils. Our aim or mission is to provide basic primary education – maths, reading and writing in their own Khmer language, Science and General Studies including History, Geography, health, nutrition and hygiene.

Join us please; we pay absolutely no one, no one at all except Cambodian teachers. We have no office or computer staff or administration costs.

We rely on yourfinancial helpto pay the teachers, maintain the buildings and buy the books.

If you like what you see, please find the ‘Donate’ page to the left of your screen and try to help us. (There is also a Donors page which lists all our donors of $500 or above).

‘Paypal’ donations go through The Rotary Club of Beaudesert in Australia and onto us in Cambodia with no money whatsoever taken from your donated amount. There’s lots of advice on the site about what money can buy for our children and indeed there is a new need outlined in TODAY’S post below.

TODAY I’ll start with what I know about ‘The Ambulance’ but today’s news DOES get better.

I am writing this from Phnom Penh about 10 kilometres upstream from the Container terminal at Neak Leung (For those who recall the ferry to get to the road to Vietnam and Prey Veng – that was at Neak Leung – there is now a bridge). The Ambulance, eleven months on is still in a container at Neak Leung.

You have to understand that in a country run by an almost autonomous bureaucracy and where the Courts are an arm of the Government of the day, I have few rights.

I have not and will not give up but I have tried to import, give away, export and all combinations – the ambulance… hundreds of emails and phone calls and very recently a letter simply giving it to the Cambodian Government. (They don’t want money – I’ve tried that.)

I have pointed out that the Local Government of Kamchay Mear ASKED for the ambulance in the first place – perhaps Customs could simply give it to them as was our intent.

Perhaps the most absurd thing of all is that we are not allowed to export it back to Australia (or anywhere) because it hasn’t been imported…. So it stays in the limbo of a container terminal.

The Customs officials know me and we get on just fine, as do all levels of Government. My phone is switched on 24 hours a day. It seems they are trapped by their own bureaucracy…. HOWEVER it might be the case that the Government CAN confiscate it and then give it to someone. I have asked that that ‘someone’ be the Local Government of Kamchay Mear who have no ambulance at all rather some richer District or Province well endowed with ambulances….. I make phone calls, I visit Neak Leung (At great expense) and I wait for phone calls.

I really like the individuals I deal with but the system is rather complex. Enough for now (again).


Customs want me to go AGAIN early next week, when for the first time they want to open the container TO SEE WHAT’S INSIDE.


  This is Rotana Guy (pronounced ‘gooee’). Rotana was one of our first pupils in 2008 – she was 12 years old. Rotana having never been to school before stayed in our school (intended for 5 – 14 year olds) till she was 16, like many of those early older children. Rotana, like others, took herself the two hour bike ride through rice fields to High School. She is now in the equivalent of Grade 11 at age 20.

Rotana loves learning English. Her English is very basic but its a big start.

Rotana wants to share what she learns with our village children. She will set up a small classroom as a trial during the 4 week holidays starting next week. I want us to support her. Its also a business venture. she wants to charge about two cents a day per child for 4 hours a day English lessons 5 days a week for four weeks. (I’ll work out workable details) .. I want us to support her effort. Ive already bought her the teachers books and white board and pens to get her started. It will be during the school hoidays so for this trial we will borrow some school desks from the school (Sok Ken the head teacher is in agreement). ………… Good luck Rotana!! (We now have a Registered Nurse and a would be teacher from our foundation year).

WATER filtration continued

If you look back at the last report you’ll get the start of this story. For four months of the year there is no rain and ground water is not really safe to drink. Clear Water Cambodia have given us a series of filtration tanks and we have to get the water from the ground into them. Most of the work is now done – you can see taps and washing troughs and instructions in the Khmer language.

 In these photos I am handing Sok Ken the money needed to power the water pump. Actually I’m not sure that big solar batteries will provide enough power to drive the pump but the solar company believes it will. If it doesn’t work then we will have  fixed up and maintained the school solar system but have to buy diesel for the pump. We will cross that bridge soon.

     So … if you look back at the last blog post you can see  the constituent parts of the filtration system. In today’s post, its all put together. In today’s penultimate photo you see the trough which not only has taps but also hand washing facilities.

In the last photo, above, you see Chanthay holding one of the taps leading from the last tank in the filtration series. (INCIDENTALLY – keen watchers will know that Chanthay is one of the village childrn we follow and have followed since she was 4 years old.. Soon, I’ll add this photo to her very own sub section.)

  This is Sok Ken our truly wonderful Head Teacher in her office area with teachers very happy with her leadership


 I LOVE this photo. I laughed for five minutes when they showed me this room a few days ago. You might recall me mentioning briefly in the last post that the teachers had said they reeeeli need a preschool – (we often have bright children starting school at age 4 anyway). They reminded me that Chez Hilary and Roy intended as teacher accommodation has only been used briefly once as accommodation but mainly as storeage. …..

…. so, this is the big front room of Chez Hilary and Roy – (far right of the main row of buildings. I said I really liked the idea… I go away and come back and I find this – I LOVE it. Not a chair… not a table and no salary. 

…. Ladies and gentlemen we need US$200 for their own hand made furniture and stationery and US$180 for one teacher per six months…

    We also need an extra US$180 each for two extra teachers because we have taken on the 300 children from a closed charity school.

   I’ll ask for all of the above from everyone everywhere soon in a special communication ….. we now have approximately 1340 children.


 Hello Peery… ‘Nang’s Story” to the left of your screen.. Read it; you’ll like it. This is her daughter, Peery. Age 7 now; 8 on November 26. We look after her after her mum died. Thanks Jana. … The coat? for Khmer people January feels VERY cold – so we bought Peery a coat in readiness! I’ll add this and the other photos below to Nang’s Story’ soon.

 Peery and her friend, On.  Micara and Peery by the front stairs of The Guesthouse. If you look at the banner at the very top of the website, Micara is the second from the left (taken 8 years ago). Micara is still sadly malnourished.

 … and of Micara agian and Peery and their friend Maigin.





A lot of us really like the photos and notes on our almost medieval style travelling shops – here’s some more…

 What you are looking at here are the wares of the charcoal burner, the tobacco and scarf salesman combined, the fishmonger and the pork butcher who all turned up at the same time….. so lets take a closer look

  (the pork butcher)

   (the fishmonger)


I BOUGHT 1 KILOGRAM OF FIRST GRADE TOBACCO AND TWO SCARVES FOR A TOTAL OF US$ 6. YES six dollars 20 cents. (the tobacco cost US$1.20)



 Chanthou checks the weight so that her mother and aunt get half a kg each!!




The patterns change along the roll of cotton.

As you can see and read there are a LOT of developments and work to be done.. Another report soon I am sure..

John – back to the villages tomorrow.






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