It’s a Friday night here in Poipet and as I write this the people next door have decided to blast some Khmer dance music over some assumably enormous speakers, and even with all this concrete and several windows between me and the outside, the entire house is shaking. Since sleep is not looking like an option for at least a few hours, it might be a good time to update you all on the past few days as I have hit the ground running!
On Thursday I accompanied bong Cate, bong Pern, bong Chanthy and bong Makara to the Drug Detention Centre where we played some silly games, shared some morning tea and related the news and current affairs to those inside the centre. It was a fun time shared by all.
I’ve also begun teaching at ABC School just five minutes’ walk away from where I am living. The classroom is open to the street so sometimes I find myself having to yell over the din of the car horns outside, but my students are very enthusiastic learners, which makes things a lot easier and more enjoyable.
Today it started absolutely bucketing down, so the 5pm students got caught in the rain at the end of their lesson and the 6pm students didn’t start turning up until about 6:15. Schedules are very much subject to the weather here as many of the roads are unsealed and a large portion of the population travel by bicycle or motorbike.
This is Room 1, where I have been teaching. The image of the King and Queen of Cambodia (above the whiteboard) is a common one to be seen in classrooms and houses as they are highly respected and revered in Cambodia. The staff’s certificates of attainment from various courses are displayed in picture frames above the whiteboard. The divider on the left doesn’t block the sounds from the class happening next door but does allow two classes to run consecutively; every spare space in this building has been used economically. This classroom is about the size of a single garage and would comfortably seat about 8 students. Some classes have up to twelve students, in which case they seem to shuffle around the desks and take chairs from other classrooms.
Please pray for me as I begin to figure out how these classes will be structured over the coming few weeks. So far some of the staff seem to perceive me as a sort of substitute teacher, but my desire is that I can partner with and pass on as much training to the local teachers as possible so that it empowers them and allows for longer-term development in Poipet. Please pray that I will be able to communicate effectively with teachers to enable them to improve their English skills too, so that these skills will be left in the country and go on to benefit others for years to come.