My website is blocked and I do not know why. Have emailed my great web person and I am sure she will work this out. We found out that the hotel internet provider had put a firewall on my website since the provider did not recognize it.
So how did my first full official day work in Cambodia. Amazing. Had a day that I so enjoyed. Zayaa and myself were picked up at 8:30 for a drive to a high school in rural Cambodia. We were going to visit the dream team in Kralanh High School. The High School is located near the village where the original Pepy school was built back in 2005-2006.
As we were driving down the road towards the school, we decided to stop at the Silk Worm farm to show Zayaa the farm and get a tour of the facility. I have been there many times and enjoy seeing the birth of the silk worms and their development through the knitting and dying of the silk as well as the making of beautiful garments and scarfs. The farm is located in a dense area of many different types of tropical plants and flowers. We walked through the various workshops and saw the people weaving the garments. I had previously seen people weaving by using their feet in Myanmar. Here they were using their feet, arms and electric power to run the weaving machines. The farm is run by a local charity that supports local arts and crafts and gives the people the opportunity to display their skills and work. We finally stopped off at the gift shop to see the beautiful finished products.
It was now time to refresh ourselves in the hot and humid weather. Fortunately there was a refreshment pavilion there and the girls, Zayaa and Kimsru, had durian ice cream while the men, Manin and myself had our coffee refills.
It was now back on the road. As we drove along the countryside, Zayaa was amazed by the thin condition of the cows. They are so thin and boney. They do not produce milk. She was also in awe of the of the many things and people the Cambodians manage to fit on some of their weird looking vehicles.
We first visited the original Pepy school. How this visit took me back to some of my memories. We then turned around for an early lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch it was time to visit the dream team at Kralanh. The dream team is an extension of the scholarship program. Pepy identifies students who are scholarship candidates and they enroll them in a pre scholarship program that helps them prepare towards acceptance in the scholarship program. There are about twenty students in this program from this high school. We met them in a small building where I told them who I was, why I am here and why I keep on coming back to Cambodia. I then told them them about Zayaa and where she was from. These students are not that good in the English language so one of the teachers acted as a translator. I also told them about some of my most recent travels and showed them some pictures of those trips. Photography is such a powerful communication tool. The students see where I was with their own eyes and experience a little of my experiences as well. Zayaa then asked each one of them their names and what they want to be. Most of them wanted to become teachers. I told them to set their goals and work hard. We spent around two hours talking with the students and answering their questions. Kimsru had to get back so we finally left. I have such a good time speaking to the students and giving them motivational talks. They are so focused and committed to making their lives better and more rewarding.
On the drive back, we stopped at a beautiful monastery to show Zayaa what a buddhist monastery looks like in Cambodia. It is totally different from the Mongolian monasteries. There were beautiful paintings of the lives of Buddha and the entire temple was open air. Kimsru and Manin talked to her about they way they pray and meditate while she shared her thoughts and how the Mongolian people do the same.
It was then back to the office and learning center of Pepy. We met with two scholarship groups and talked about similar topics. It was so much easier talking tp these students. They were much more fluent in English and most of them remember me from my previous visit in October. They were all so happy to see me. It seems that they now were convinced of my commitment to them and their schooling. We talked about some of my more recent trips. It was then time for them to go back to class and for Zayaa and myself to rest uo a bit before dinner.
We were taken back to the hotel and I decided to take a nice long swim. The water was not even cool. The hot and humid weather had made the water in the swimming pool barely refreshing. I then went back up to the room and fell asleep. How tired this weather makes you. For some reason I woke up at 7 PM and immediately realized that I had to meet Zayaa and Kaia in the lobby at 7 for dinner. Off I ran, getting dressed and running down to the lobby.
We had dinner at a very nice restaurant named “New Leaf”. The restaurant donates 30% of its profits to various local charities, including Pepy, and gives 20% of its profits to its staff. She had a very enjoyable dinner as I enjoyed hearing Kaia and her story of how she arrived in Cambodia.
A great and rewarding day in Cambodia