January 23, 2013
This morning started out at 8:30. We got to sleep in a little bit after our night in the field with the CSHD team. Bill and Jill Morse picked us up and we headed out to Monkey Head Lake School. This is one of the schools that they have built in an area that was cleared by CSHD. At present time, HALO and CMAC are still clearing large plots of land in this area. The area being close to the Thai border was heavily mined and there was a lot of fighting in this region during the Khmer Rouge.
We drove for close to 5 hours out to the village. The roads were mostly dirt for the last 2 hours and since the GPS didn’t work out where we were, we kept having to stop to make sure we were headed the right direction. Eventually the village Chief met us on his motto and we followed him in to the school.
The school is not large but it does serve its purpose. It was probably 400 square foot, wood sided building with a tin roof. It was serving close to 65 kids. The nature of the trip was to deliver some school supplies and pay the teacher his wages for the last 9 months. Imagine that….. working and not getting paid for 9 months? The teacher of this school is an extraordinary person. That just goes to show you how wonderful these people are and how much they do care about the future of these young people.
We met all the kids and handed out the supplies. Then we handed out the presents. Its always exciting to see the looks on the kids faces. A lot of the parents were there too and to see the expression of gratitude from them is something I will never forget. It really drives home how special what you all have done truly is. It affects everyone. To watch the parents play with the kids as they open up the bags……I am at a loss for words to describe it.
We also enjoy opening the bags with the kids just the same. When the kids find out what it is that’s in them and we show them how to play with the toys, their smiles could light up the sky. They are instantly moved to laughter, as are we.
We finished up by Bill and I showing the kids how to throw a frisbee. It continues to amaze me how the little things in life we never really think about. It goes back to the showing the kids what crayons are…….. However, giving them something that they have never seen before is really an awesome experience.
Before we headed home, we had lunch at the village Chief’s house. He had cooked for us to show his appreciation. We sat on a huge table and ate rice with eggs and vegetables. We all chatted and shared a few laughs. I took a stroll around the area. They had chickens and pigs. A lot of dogs running around and a bird that spoke Khmer!!! Directly across the road was a CMAC camp. I didn’t stroll very far as I knew they were de-mining in the area.
We headed back to Siem Reap. It was going to be a long ride home but well worth the trip. I have a better idea now how to build and fund a school. This will be a project that Complete Cambodia will be taking on with the CSHD. Together we can get more done and quicker. As we left the school I timed it till I saw another school. It was almost 45 minutes before we came across another primary school. I couldn’t believe it. In Los Angeles it seems like every 10 blocks you can find an elementary school. That shows you just how great the need is….
As we got closer to Siem Reap, we blew a tire on the van. We were probably only 25 minutes from home. The driver and I changed it in about 15 minutes and we were back on our way. They dropped us of at Molly’s and we said our goodbye’s. I cant thank Bill and Jill Morse for all they have done for us. As much as we are in support of them, I feel like they are just as, if not more supportive of us. I really look forward to working together. I know we are going to accomplish great things, and with velocity!!!!