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29 Nov 2011

Jetsetting round Cambodia

I haven't written a blog for awhile, mainly because I've been busy with work and study but also because Sam seems to have been on a bit of a blogging rampage so I didn't want to interrupt.

October and November are made up of a ridiculous number of workshops for those in the Education world. As a result I have barely seen anyone from my office in the last few months which has made doing any meaningful work difficult. Luckily the schools finally opened again and were fully functioning by the middle of October, bar the few that were still flooded. So I've mainly been concentrating on lessons observations of teachers using the new literacy materials I did a workshop on in September and finishing setting up libraries in three schools.

Children working in groups to read their book, My Family, and then introduce themselves and describe their own family.

A newly opened library

Then my travels began. I organised a three day study tour with the volunteers in Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri to visit two schools in Kampong Cham (KC), a nearby province and where we spent six weeks learning Khmer when we first arrived. I hadn't been back for over a year so it was great to visit some of our favourite restaurants again. It also made me realise how tiny Kratie really is - the market in KC is so much bigger!

The study tour went really well and it was great to see the provinces interacting, discussing ideas, sharing experiences and using what they had learned to set their own objectives. There was even a little bit of time for some sightseeing which everyone really enjoyed. Even though KC is very close to Kratie, some of the teachers had never visited it before.

The teachers trying to find their correct name cards in under four minutes

Taking notes from the student council about vegetable gardens

Learning about the school's cultural center

Kratie Teachers visiting Phnom Proh (Man Mountain)

Me and my landlord who also happens to be a teacher!

Then I set off on my 11 hour epic journey to get from Kratie to Siem Reap by bus for my long awaited 100km cycle. Unfortunately, I woke up not feeling very well that morning and felt even worse by Saturday morning. But I was determined to do the cycle after travelling all that way. I did finish the 100km but it was a real struggle and not an experience I think I will repeat, although the scenery was amazing.

We started off just as the sun was rising

Weirdly I look quite happy. I didn't feel happy knowing I still had 75km to go at this point

The end....finally, after five hours of cycling! I was feeling happy now.

Leandra, Andre, John, and Olivia were all waiting for me at the finish line with water and hugs which made me feel even happier

After Siem Reap, I headed to Battambong with Leandra and Andre to learn about some of the work Leandra has been doing there. It was great to see where they lived (and add another province to my list) and get some new inspiration for activities for the coming year.

Then me and Leandra set off for Phnom Penh for the two day Education Sector Workshop. It's always good to meet up with the other Education volunteers and hear what everyone's been up to in their placements. We rounded off the week with a VSO Christmas Party.

After over a week of being in three big cities, I was ready to get home my small town of Kratie and to Sam.

And I got home to find the house all decorated and ready for Christmas. (How lovely is my husband?)

Only two weeks to go! (Note the handmade Christmas tree.)

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