Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

In CategoryJohns blog


Christmas Day this year will be a village Monday.

97% of Cambodian people are very happily Buddhist – 100% around here – nationally 1.5% are Muslim (Cham) and 1.5% Christian. I do the the whole Santa ‘thing’… teach the children Jingle Bells, put up decorations and lights and give presents. I love Christmas ANYWHERE as anyone who knows me knows! – if you like, we celebrate the mid-winter Solstice version with Santa added.

The photo above was taken on the Guesthouse balcony (see below for Guesthouse). I’ve only been here for a matter of days and have just managed to solve a lot of technical problems. TWO brand new but brilliant solar batteries. Money for every teacher. Got used to my new secondhand phone. Used my NEW Lumix Leica TZ80 camera for the first time in Cambodia (the old one died a slow painful death)…. and because my internet provider here has updated everything, I’ve had to get my ancient laptop (tablet) updated and a new dongle…. AND said a Happy “Hello” to thousands of Khmer folk.

On the new enormous dirt road (24 metres wide and I have yet to find out why) (Electricity is I’m told, again, coming “next year”).

Note the nine new ironwork cheese segments topping the wall. It was mandatory and I paid for it personally. ” There has to be a statement to protect visitors.” Check out the hats, lots and lots more later.

Please remember  – not one cent of donated money goes onto the Guesthouse in any way – it is however built for visitors,

On the inside of one of the outer walls of The Guesthouse. When graffiti is ‘art from the heart’.

This was painted for me and our January and February visitors. It reads, “Everyone welcome to Cambodia Happy New Year 2018”


All teachers are paid (paid twice a year June and December)!! THANKYOU to The Rotary Club of Beaudesert and Peter Greenwell. in the photo above I’m placing all the money into the hands initially of the Head teacher (and then to each teacher) – Sokken – in her office cum staffroom in The Chuor Ph’av Schools campus…. The second photo is of me preparing receipts immediately afterwards for signing. (in the second photo my camera is sitting on the table.)


I’ve shown literally thousands of photos of children and teachers over the years – today just a few. The first photo above is of So Nita, wonderful teacher, standing in the staffroom/Headteachers Office/Clinic. The second photo was at the end of the day (most children had already left for home), back packs ready to go.


AGAIN my luggage was packed to the point where not one more fat teddy could squeeze in. Thank you so much this time to my daughter Jenny’s friend Jade, for acquiring and giving some pretty incredible (they all are) teddy bears. Here mums are sorting them with village children in mind  especially as in who didn’t get one last time. (more a bit further on).


I’ve included the two photos above, repeated from December 1. I’ve brought with me the few sets of ‘Days for Girls’ (time of the month beautifully hand made and washable with instructions in Khmer script!! from the Wagga Wagga ladies) thanks Kathy – more on this after Linda gets here). Our friend from Beaudesert, Linda arrives in February and alongside Chanthou and some local mothers they can sort out issues, numbers, needs and… and .. anything.

Hats hats and VERY popular hats…. (and Jade’s incredible teddies).

A big thankyou to the Our Lady of The Sacred Heart Kidergarten in Kenmore Brisbane. There is a photo of me with the children and teachers in Brisbane in the December 1st post. You will see in that post that it is FOUR YEAR OLDS who are wearing the hats……


….. SAME HATS on Chanthai (Guesthouse Manager) two mums and a 22 year old man. Chanthou’s son Kumheang.


They Love their hats… again thank you Our Lady of The Sacred Rosary Kindergarten in Brisbane. (There’s another box full of hats waiting for the January and February visitors to bring)

Of interest to people who know the village and Schools. That green truck belongs to Warn our senior Builder. We have full use of it so he often parks it within the Guesthouse grounds. (note it is parked next to Peter Greenwell’s tuk tuk with its roof off for hard labour)

Today I have updated the ‘Gold Donors’ list. see Donors and how to Donate to the left of your screen. You are a Gold Donor if you have donated $500 or more. If YOU have donated $500 or more please check through the alphabetical list. IF I’ve forgotten anyone its good to know for history’s sake, plus an update is easy to do.

(I’ll insert here a personal plan of mine for 2018. In 1982 I performed a one man show in Theatres – I plan to do it again – all money raised will go to our Schools. I’ve had initial talks with a few friends – I was thinking of starting in France – I don’t know yet. A lot more on this idea soon – it is a one hour 45 minute show. I’ve started re-preparing.)

Meanwhile while children were parading hats and teddies Chanthai and Chathou were preparing fish from our dam for salting and storage.


There are 5500 photos within this website and 300 of them are of Peery (in green above taken today) and of her mother Nang from 9 years ago.

   and to the right, one of the saddest photos I’ve ever taken – Christmas 3 years later.

If you would like to read a passionate and incredibly moving true story this Christmas, open ‘Nang’s Story’ in the contents list. The 1st of these three photos was ‘Merry Christmas’ from us a few years ago – it’s caption read “we don’t do miracles in our villages – but maybe we do.” (the problem was we only managed that particular miracle five times).

especially from from OUR children – Merry Christmas from John.







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