Monthly Archives: October 2012

Back to Business

With the holidays over its back to business. It’s lovely to have the center busy again with the noise of the children spilling out at you from every space.

It seems visiting the families over the break has rubbed off on the children, who are playing house/shop and making dinners of leaves and sand every chance they get. They constructions are getting more elaborate each time, filling up the desks in the classrooms and at one point engulphing most of our playground!

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Having been spending so much time with brothers, sisters and cousins over the holidays we also thought it was about time to do another head lice treatment blitz. All of the children get a dose so we should be itch free for a while now.

Getting a shampoo.

No one minds it.

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Posted by on October 26, 2012 in 2012


Pchum Ben Holidays and the Passing of King Sihanouk

The pagoda nearest our center.

The center has been closed recently for the Pchum Ben holiday. It is a national holiday where schools and businesses alike close and people head home to be with family (often out in the countryside provinces). Pchum Ben is the holiday of the ancestors, a time to pay respect to your past relations. During this time of year Cambodians believe the separation between the spirit world and our own is at its most fragile, meaning the ghosts of the ancestors are close at hand.

The monks leading a prayer.

People head to pagodas and make large numbers of food offerings and prayers for the spirits. The monks will lead the prayers and money is often donated for them as well. It is a very important holiday to Cambodians, the cities empty and businesses close down to allow everyone to pay their respects properly.

Sadly during this holiday it was announced that King Norodom Sihanouk (who abdicated his thrown in 2004) had died. A week of mourning was announced by the state and while we reopened today it was clear our kids were still busy with this at home. After asking around the village we have decided it is best to leave the center closed (except for our evening classes) until Monday 22nd.

King Sihanouk had been in China for the last few years receiving treatment in a hospital but at the age of 89 his body gave in. He was first placed in power in 1941 by the French. He was a young King but he proved to be a smart one too, eventually outwitting the colonialists and helping to peacefully lead the country to independence. His history in the country is checkered however and while he is endeared to the nation as the king who stood up for the poor, there is no denying his actions in the early 1970s led in part to the coming to power of the Khmer rouge (he was also heavily involved in the later peace negotiations).

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Many Cambodians are deeply saddened by his passing with thousands of people traveling to the royal palace to pay tribute to the monarch they so admired.

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Posted by on October 18, 2012 in 2012


The Start of School Term

It has been the start of term so our children have been back at school which means the center is a bit quieter, but not much! We have been making sure to offer lots of homework help as after so long off they are a little bit out of practice.

Our art and craft lessons this week have been brilliant, paper mache balloons and animals (namely Angry Birds!). It proved extremely messy and great fun. They make a good display too.

Sokheang and myself (Jen) have settled into our new roles as Assistant Operations Manager and Operations Manager respectively, and the center is running smoothly  We are excited for this next chapter and hope to continue the brilliant work of Toni and the other members of staff.

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Posted by on October 14, 2012 in 2012


Medical Care and Art Project

Ear Care

Each year,  M’lop Tapang organise for “All Ears” clinic to come to Sihanoukville to provide free checkups. The people of our village are lucky enough to be included in this valuable service. Kolab organised our local Tuk Tuk drivers and accompanied 21 local children and adults to the M’lop Tapang Center.  Everyone had a check up, several children had minor ear infections to get attended to and they supplied an elderly deaf gentleman with a Hearing Aid.

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Craft Project

Each Wednesday we do an art and craft project. Last week we made a 3D paper garden to hang in our hallway. Sokheang got involved and made the sun shine.

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Posted by on October 3, 2012 in 2012