Tuesday, February 10, 2009

‘Muskoka School’ Project Groundbreaking!

Great excitement and anticipation yesterday as team members from the Trailblazer Foundation ( www.trailblazerfoundation.org ) and myself hopped on our motos at 8am to make the 45-minute ride on the dusty roads to the ‘Muskoka School’ Project site!

This was the day that Muskoka and all the people here on the ground have long been waiting for – the Official Groundbreaking of the new 6-room cement public school in the rural impoverished village of Ta Trav, about 25km northwest of Siem Reap.

What a surprise to get to this site and to find that the ‘ground’ has already been well-broken. All the footings have already been hand-dug! It takes a whole day for one man just to dig two of these footing holes with a simple shovel! String is already laid down determining the division of each classroom. Trucks come by periodically with loads of fill which will be mixed with rocks and cement used to fill the footing holes. Nearby a crew of mostly women, are busy cutting up lengths of rebar, hammering them straight with the backside of an ax, and then forming them into small squares that will be used in the school construction. This project gives the nearby villagers much-needed work. The villagers participating are split into shifts, so everyone can benefit from the employment that this school project brings.

Imagine – over 500 students will benefit from this new school. They are just so excited about the new school that they will get which is being built to Cambodian Ministry of Education specifications.

On-hand for yesterday’s joyous occasion were the engineers, government and commune representatives and members of the Trailblazer Foundation. This school-building project is a collaborative endeavor of the Trailblazer Foundation and the Cambodia Landmine Museum Relief Fund ( www.cambodialandminemuseumrelieffund.org )

Things will go fast from here on in. In a day or two, they will start filling in the footings.
Jay and Linda Harrison from Gravenhurst will arrive here in two days. We will plan another visit out to the site next week.

I have four short video clips that I’ll be putting on YouTube, and will be shortly putting tons of photos of the school site on my Picasa Web Album Site: http://picasaweb.google.com/schoolsforcambodia/ , so become a follower of this blogsite for further updates.

I’m still busy spending weekdays at the Voluntary Development Poverty Children School here on the outskirts of Siem Reap. I spend many rewarding afternoons with the kids there reading and doing crafts. Jay and Linda will be arriving with library cards and pockets so we can process all the books which will enable the students to borrow them and read them at home! VDPSC is anxiously awaiting the shelf-building project that Jay has planned for the library.
Always lots to do here in Siem Reap!

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