Have completed my first working week, a thoroughly enjoyable one, but tiring too! I have cycled every day, although I'm not sure that it is the same pleasure as it was as the traffic around the Old Market in a morning is hectic, and you do not where anyone is going to turn, stop, pull out, meet you etc, only very basic road rules apply! There are more and more 4 wheel drives, trucks, motos etc and it is every man/woman/child for themselves. Hopefully I will be able to go a different, more scenic route next as the toll road has reopened after the removal of the emergency bridges they put in last year to help drain away the flood water.
I am working in Tigers and Rhinos classes, many of the children I worked with two years ago, so remembering their names helps, there are fewer new ones to learn and it is fantastic to see the progress the children have made with their reading and writing of English. Phearom is the. Class teacher and is a lovely young lady to work with. Just listening to her week and responsibilities compares with people's lives at home, but in a vastly different way. She is attending school 6 evenings a week from 6 - 9 pm to enable her to teach English after 4 yrs of studying, works Mon - Fri from 8 - 4 pm and also has the extended family she lives with to cook etc for plus look after her own 4 yrs old daughter. All laundry is done by hand and at present their home is surrounded by flood water.
Grace House continues to develop and enable more people within their 3 villages to benefit by employment, education, vocational educ and assistance with home repairs, addition of loos, health and social support, so it is always a very busy and dynamic place to be. Funding is from bids that Bridget is able to access and be awarded, but the majority is by donations.
The latest projects are the Youth Club a few evenings a week and a day school which disabled children can attend. Enabling those children to have a far wider experience and support with their disabilities. Annette, a Belgium vol is running that for a year.
Already there has been a considerable change over of Vols here in the house, but at present we are a mixture of Brits, NZ, Aus, Canadian and Belgian. Everyone is very pleasant and sociable and friendly.
The weather has been very cloudy during most of the week with very heavy storms and periods of prolonged rain overnight. However, today (Sat) has been beautifully sunny and very hot. The humidity has been very difficult to deal with, so I spend most of my time dripping sweat! As a result of the rain the river level has gone up and homes flooded for the first time this year. But today's sun has helped it evaporate so their has been an improvement.
Last year I found out about weekly cycle rides and very much wanted to join one, however, the water defeated me, so this I was determined to go on one. That has been this morning's adventure. I arrived at 7:45 am as directed, another 8 people turned up, we were fitted with our mountain type bikes and off we set into the beautiful countryside. Very quickly we out of Siem Reap and into peace, tranquility and amazing local sights, so all was going well. Eventually, we had to hit the water, deep clay mud and orange cream mud to find our way through, I didn't fall off but had to put my feet down and sink, losing the flip flops, but survived. The next obstacle was not so friendly, a 6ft tall and wide bank of pure mud clay, impossible to ride or push bike over, it had to be carried as we sank up to our short line in it! One advantage of being elderly is that a guy kindly carried mine for me and I carried his flip flops for him! After that conditions improved and on we went - for about 40km I estimate, and 3 and a quarter hrs. It was brilliant, but I'm knackered now, that's why I'm managing to write this. The sights were amazing, it was interesting to see Tonle Sap so low, and of course all the changes and developments that are happening everywhere. However, that does not mean that there is any less poverty etc. Hopefully, I will be there next Sat for a cycle of discovery. The other desperate wish is that kgs are being dumped too!
Have eaten out a couple of times during the week, but working and getting used to the humidity is exhausting, neither have I slept very well, but have watched some of the US Open. Unfortunately, none of the Paralympics have been shown, although I can see results on BBC site. It has been good to catch up with people I have met other years too.
Cannot show my photos on this, so they are on Facebook. I will try at some point to try on a conventional computer to add them.
Take care, love to all and hope work, retirement etc is going well, J xx