Hi all, the rains are falling and the river swelling, so surrounding land is now vanishing under water. We had torrential rain throughout most of the night, and today there have been numerous very heavy storms, as some of the photos show you. The ride this morning was interesting because the authorities had obviously been trying to direct the water away from the tourist part of town, so land that people were harvesting rice in last week was today submerged! So it looked as though I was cycling through an ocean, once I hit the G House road the floods were across and I had to cycle through warm water. A strange sensation, as one expects it to be cold. Splash from everywhere soon rendered me wet and covered in orange mud - trousers that will never come clean again. Numbers were lower at school today, many of them would have had to wade through deep water, and I'm sure some enjoy playing in it. Today has been much cooler, even for me, but the children think it has been cold - probably about 26 and feeling like 30! One place where the water has been redirected takes it through a state school, it was rushing through, at tremendous speed and volume, about 2m deep, so when that school will be useable again is anyone's guess.
The journey back was through much deeper water and it was across in a lot more places, but I could cycle through with confidence knowing that at the moment there is still a road surface underneath it. Homes badly flooded, but the food sellers soon decamp to higher ground, and those on the bridge seemed to be doing a good trade in cooked sweet corn, boiled eggs and boiled noodles. Fishermen have appeared and seem to be everywhere with a great variety of equipment.
Today I had the privilege of teaching the most able 18yr + students who come to GH everyday for a one hr lesson from 3 to 4pm. They are good and so keen to learn and appreciate a native speaker. Their aspirations are amazing but likelihood of being able to achieve it very limited as from very poor homes. However, GH is helping some and will help others if their state school results are good enough.
Fri 20 Sept
I have continued teaching the class, as Teacher Loung has had the whole week off since the birth of his first child, a son.
Weather wise has been variable - torrential storms, prolonged rain, intense beautiful sun and great humidity, so the water has been a bit up and down. The houses along the river are still badly flooded, as is Kong Much school, but the roads are clear. However, the potholes are appearing and getting wider and deeper daily. I love the journey to school and the time to stare, but it doesn't happen too often as there is always someone slowing down on their moto or riding their bike alongside wanting to talk to this mad English woman who shouts at and talks to all.
This when I should be writing all my anecdotes but as soon as I begin they leave me instantly! The children have found the mornings and the wet periods very cold and are now wearing long sleeved tops, cardigans and track suit tops, if they own them. I still continue to sweat profusely, but on mornings when I've cycled and got wet I've become clammy and cold and taken a while to warm up. A top, or sleeves not been wanted. Where ever you see two children, women or women and children they are always going through each others hair looking for and removing head lice or their eggs.
Today, Fri has been a fun day, volunteers Alex and Jess have organised it and participated - I didn't! They mixed tubs of corn flour, water and food colouring and the objective was for each team to colour their opponents, great fun was had by all and I became chief photographer. The nasty sore I had last year has returned and I have to be very careful! All children went home covered in the strange mess and colours, I think many would just jump into the river to clean themselves! That is exactly what the vols did, you may not be able to see clearly, but the electricity wires were next to where they were jumping from and nearly in the water. Nothing happened whilst I was watching but some very dangerous diving and jumping was happening. Goodness knows what was in the brown water, so I hope none was imbibed.
GH has just been awarded a grant from the US to employ a computer teacher to start computer lessons for 18 - 24 yr olds from the villages between 4 - 8 pm each day. Alan and Alison raised enough money to buy 16 computers from schools they gave talks to, they are now installed in a suite and all the children have the opportunity to use them each week. Their word processing skills are improving as is their use of the keyboard. Everything is done in English.
The cows are thoroughly enjoying the piles of new rice straw they are being given, it is useful for climbing up, lying down on, sleeping and eating. However, it is only a small part of the harvest that is ready. The piles of rice are now appearing on the road side to dry off, if there isn't any water lying.
Our daily power cuts are continuing, but fortunately do not last too long and tend to be after 10 pm and around 5:30 am, it is really only the fans that we miss, but it is important that we've always got torches ready wherever we are.
I am hoping for a dry night and fine morning, so that I can go for another long cycle ride tomorrow morning, I'm thoroughly enjoying them, but the bottom does find it painful after a while.
I think some of the weight is coming off, but a trifle too slowly for my liking, I haven't eaten out much at all and haven't partaken in too many 50 cent Angkor beers, but I have just succumbed and had to send Vuy to the stall next door to buy me a couple. They are cheaper if a Khmer buys them, so knowing someone is useful. I help him with his English and homework often enough! Everyone here is very friendly, but the youngsters tend to eat in and then go out later to enjoy the night life, I'm a bit too old for that. However, an Australian lady, Sue an occupational therapist has just arrived at GH for 6 weeks but not living here, but I think we'll get on ok and be able to do some things together. I'm amazed at the youngsters, they would rather pay for a tuk tuk than ride their bikes, even thoughntheybarenalways complaining about how poor they are.
It is now 8:10pm and I feel it's nearly bedtime, so have a wonderful weekend and take care, love to all, J x