Merry Christmas 2018. Almost ready for the Official Opening of ‘My Health School’ on January 26 2019.

In CategoryJohns blog

Merry Christmas from our villages and Schools in the Kamchay Mear District of the Province of Prey Veng in Cambodia.

My Health School was shown and written about in last month’s post (scroll down to November for those photos and notes). The building is now complete and the Official Opening will be on January 26 2019. A lot of people will be present – the children, their teachers and families together with people from the four levels of Cambodian Government, Local, District, Provincial and National. Also present will be representatives of The Rotary Club of Beaudesert…. and most importantly, this time, we will be delighted to welcome back our Donor of My Health School, Zoe Fields, who will in turn be representing Carrie Fields the owner of the International Company “My Health.” Carrie is Zoe’s daughter. In practice, Zoe wont need welcoming back because she belongs.

This post includes photos and notes on much needed desks and paint…. and more. Please enjoy. John.

It is remarkable what a coat of paint will do! Many of you are used to photos of our wonderful School Buildings… and NOW, they’re like new! The Bike Shed referred to in the video and elsewhere in this post starts construction later today and will be 20 metres x 5 metres. (two bike shed photos edited in at the end of today’s post)

Christmas is not recognised in Cambodia; Schools are open, bike sheds are built.

I have said many times over the years, we don’t have Christmas here – but that’s like saying, we don’t have miracles here. This is all a miracle. I have long since stopped worrying when I KNOW that we need something… eventually it happens with a lot of people involved – Confidence, Tenacity, Certainty, Focus, Human Love, Compassion and Effort combined with more Love, Wisdom and more Effort and we are, I understand  the largest- in child numbers – School Charity complex in South East Asia.








We now go back one month and work through the photos towards the present.






“My Health School” was built by (as always) by local builders. It is very important to understand that we import NOTHING. All labour, all teachers, all payments are LOCAL. The money arrives in Cambodia and stays in Cambodia. These photos are planning photos with Chanthou, Chhai, one of our builders, me and Sok Ken, the Head Teacher. We are making the completion and final payment to the Builders.









Next – Electricity!

We paid for the Electrity connection, cables, wiring and sockets in all the Chuor Ph’av Schools. At the same time, one kilometre away we now have mains electricity in our Guesthouse.

The connection comes into us through the Pre-School Building (known previously as the teachers accommodation and still known and signed as Chez Hilary (from France).

and into the Teachers Office cum Clinic.

This is the entrance to our Chuor Ph’av Schools and Our Guesthouse is just over a kilometre away and our twelve villages radiate from this point – so – I now have a very robust mud and dust bicycle.



The sign photos above: We used a tiny, squalid, efficient, inexpensive workshop in Phnom Penh to make the signs for My Health School and then we had to get them home to their School. They arrived relieved and safe.

Lots of meetings. This is in a roadside cafe in Kamchay Mear, our District Town. We had just had an inter governmental planning meeting for The Official Opening: – invitees, acknowledgements and several AWARDS planned, gifts for children, the elderly, the temple (our neighbour and co-tenant on Government land. – and a huge traditional Fair to plan for into the night. In the photo Chanthou is sitting with our two Commune leaders (several villages in a Commune and several Communes in a District – several Districts in a Province – in our case, Prey Veng Province.)


Always – our desks are made in Cambodia – we need a lot of desks for our new School. Our children are all under the age of fourteen so three children can comfortably sit at one of these desks.


The above three photos are some of my all time favourites. – The Children welcoming with love and awe, something as special as a School Desk. You’ll see one of these photos again a few photos down.

Our Children can start in Pre-School at age four and leave for High School in Prey Cherean village at age fourteen.Until very recently we were keeping children up to age sixteen because they were not allowed to go to Prey Cherean as that village was in a different District (although only 30 minutes away on a bicycle with a new, much better local road – dirt but good). Older children were travelling to Kamchay Mear Town in Peter Greenwell’s tuk tuk and even that was a 45 minute journey …. so; the above photo is of Bit and her friend on their first day going to our local High School. WHO IS BIT? Look at the banner of childrens’ faces at the top of this website. Bit is on the left hand end. We have known Bit since the beginning – and YES, Bit is fourteen years old. (Remember we already have two Graduate nurses from our first years – They were both sixteen years old when they started with us – with zero language or arithmetical skills. They worked very hard!

Our Guesthouse continues to be very much of a village hub and this toddler is enjoying our pretty lights.


I took the above three photos of food in the teachers office at our Schools.  tasty bean paste embedded in rice and wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked over a fire – yummy (in Khmer, yummy is Chnang na.)


I’ve slipped in the two photos above of food because this food is delicious too. One of my favourite cafes in Phnom Penh is called Vibe – it is a vegan cafe close to the Russian Market. Staff and food are good… I’ll take visitors there on a day we visit the Russian Market.

It’s true.

The above photo isn’t a good photo but it IS a special photo. The King of Cambodia, King Sihamouni, will probably be giving some important medals in relation to the work we do. (not me – but to very significant helpers) And so this photo, framed, was taken to Phnom Penh for the National Government to see the new building, a group of students and six of our teachers.

… and another group photo.


Time to clean the outside of every building – children, teachers and families all involved. The new desks in this photo are being spayed with stain and varnish by teachers Ren Soth on the left and Srey Samun. In later photos you see many people, both parents and children involved.


In the School Office with two great kind and skilled teachers and the sign  – ready.


It’s all explained in the videos below. Our teacher Ren Soth has organised and trains a junior football team (soccer) – Girls are starting too… The pitch? field? paddock? – behind My Health School! Please check out the two videos.

Look at the Soccer uniforms in the photos above. Girls are starting too. Brilliant Soth (Ren Soth) for organising this.


Painting painting painting – all leading to the video that is at the beginning (scroll up) of this our Merry Christmas Post. Check out the children with the paint rollers – they were having a wonderful time.


We close today with these photos of the combined main entrance to our Chuor Ph’av Schools complex and the Temple and Wat – monastery. The first is on entering and the second photo – leaving.

The very latest work NOW two photos edited in below:


The Bicycle Shed is taking shape TODAY.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Me? I shall continue to wander, slowly, through the villages singing Jingle Bells with tribes of children. Wish you were here… but starting with Zoe on January 4 and Lauren on the 13th… then Susie and Peter on the 22nd and Linda and Mark on the 23rd – some of you will be. Hooray….. John.




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