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27 Jan 2012

Sparkles and Puppets

Two weeks ago Kratie had its Provincial Education Congress Meeting which lasted for two days. It's very ceremonial so everyone wears traditional dress and there are lots of speeches (during one I even got a shout out!) and some medal giving at the end. I didn't get a medal though :-(

Here's my outfit - very sparkly

This is Sokchea, who works in my office, getting her medal. The man with her is the deputy governor of Kratie Province who I was teaching English to a few months ago. During his speech he pointed to me and said "There's Gilly. She's my teacher"!

My boss also got a medal.

This week I did a workshop about using puppets for the grade 1 teachers in Kratie town.

One of the teachers I work with sharing her experience of using the puppet

Generally the teachers seemed pretty happy to have a go. The rabbit puppet was particularly popular.

I also observed some lessons where the teachers are trying out some new reading resources and group activities.

Grade 2 children enjoying their story. I even got to model a lesson this week for grade 1 which was extremely exciting though it did remind me how much I miss teaching (as well as that I can still do it, phew...)

And last but not least, a beautiful Kratie sunset. I'm about to go and enjoy a beer and watch another one by the river!

19 Jan 2012

Learning Khmer Through Hip Hop

A colleague passed me this which I thought was fun, a UK Hip Hop artist who has relocated to Phnom Penh running through some of the key phrases of note in the Khmer language.  [Warning: Some viewers may find some of the language a little bit colourful.]

And, from the same guy, a tribute to Phnom Penh...

3 Jan 2012

Happy New Year!

Celebrating in style

Our New Year weekend started with much excitement as Lucy and Tom arrived to celebrate with us. It was so much fun to watch them walk out of Phnom Penh airport and escort them to Kratie, especially as they also seemed to be loving Cambodia as well. We set off on the morning of New Year's Eve to visit the island opposite, where we also spent Christmas. We hired bikes and cycled round to look for a good place to swim. Lucy and Tom decided to brave the bilharzia and come for a dip as well. It was very refreshing (even a little cold in my opinion, though Lucy said I was being silly).

On the boat to the island. Tom is sampling a tamarind fruit from our landlord.

Sam showing off his body in the Mekong with Kratie town in the background

Tom relaxing with a nice cup of tea before lunch

Me and Lucy, pausing from our continual chattering to pose for the camera
(there's a lot of catching up to fit into 4 days)

Planning our next moves....

Lucy enjoying hanging out on the beach
(we're actually waiting for the ferry again at this point).

Still waiting....but all smiles

After returning to Kratie and watching the sunset with a few beers, we headed back to the house to prepare the gala NY meal. There was a lot of food (three courses in fact: petite pizzas to start, pork with pumkin curry for the main and caramalised bananas with pancakes and ice cream for desert), lots of alcohol and lots of new year's resoultions!

We played a game where we all had to make up a resolution for another person. In the end we made up two and then the person could choose. We all got quite into it and the resolutions are pretty challenging. Me and Sam also made up our own. Here they are:

: to make a book of the handpained signs of Kratie (chosen by Gilly)
His own: to learn to touch type 50 words per minute

: to achieve a cycling accomplishment (chosen by Sam. This was after Lucy had ridden into a banana tree during our cycle on the island)

: to complete a triathlon (chosen by Lucy)

: to make entire outfits for me and Sam by hand (chosen by Tom)
My own: to learn more about photography and take better pictures

Tom loved the local Cambodian whiskey at $1 a bottle. The dinner lasted from 8pm until 4am so he had plenty of time to polish off the whole bottle!

Dinner by candlelight

The next day was spent in a sleepy haze, eating more yummy food and posing for a photoshoot with Sven, a German photographer living in Kratie (who is also going to be helping me with my new year's resolution).

Sam testing out his modelling side

Sadly all good things must come to an end and we had to wave Lucy and Tom off as they made their way to Kep and then Siem Reap and we headed back to work. It is lovely having visitors and with only one year left, anyone thinking of coming should start planning now!

Happy New Year!