Saturday, November 29, 2008

First Village Visit in Cambodia!

It's now the fourth day of my four month stay in Cambodia and the Thai-Burma Border. I landed at Cambodia's Siem Reap Airport 4 evenings ago luckily avoiding the mass shutdown at Thailand's airports. The situation there has still not resolved. The day after I arrived, Asad Rahman and Olivia Lorge of 'Project Enlighten'arrived, having been rerouted to avoid Bangkok's airports.

We did not waste a moment! Yesterday we made our first visit to Bangro village, Kantrang Commune, Prasat Bakang District in Siem Reap Province. The purpose for this trip was two-fold - to find a suitable site for a Project Enlighten English Pagoda School, and secondly to distribute some donations to the poor villagers there.

I left Gravenhurst armed with a hockey bag full of crocs donated by the ladies at the St. James Anglican Church, school supplies from Gravenhurst's Sue Stockdale, and flip-flops from the generous family at Blondie's Restaurant. As you can see from the photos posted here - all villagers young and old had a grand time. Project Enlighten brought along some clothes to distribute and bought some fresh bread for everyone to enjoy.

Pagoda Schools are very popular and well-attended in SE Asia. Most public schools do not provide adequate lessons in the English language. So, many children attend Pagoda schools after public school hours to receive extra lessons in English and other subjects taught by the monks or teachers there. Bangro Pagoda does not have a Pagoda school, something that could benefit the over 100 children in the surrounding area. So this is something that the team at 'Project Enlighten'will be looking into.

This year 'Project Enlighten'has many projects on the go that are of benefit to all ages in the communities. You'll hear lot's about them. To get introduced to some of those projects visit their website at www.projectenlighten.org .

I'll also be making my first visit to the 'Muskoka School' Project Site soon. We still need to raise a bit of money for that, so any donation that you can send to The Cambodian Landmine Museum Relif Fund (CLMMRF) will really help. Send your cheque nade out to the 'CLMMRF'to Box 53, Gravenhurst, ON, P1P 1T5. We are so close to meeting our $20,000US goal.

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