Voice from Cambodia: News from the Project by Marilyn K.

Posted by: | Posted on: December 12, 2011

A mushroom house has also been started. The aim is to be able to sell mushrooms to some of the hotels in town.The dark, musty hut is filled with containers that are kept moist. So far production is in its infancy, though some of the mushrooms have been used in our lunches.(Photos 779, 781 )

Hi All,
The floods seem to have receded and ,from all reports, I am glad I was not here for them. The thought of wading knee deep in water of dubious quality makes me feel quite squeamish. We have had a few heavy downpours since. The potholes in the road quickly fill with red, muddy water and the surface above water becomes slick and slippery. It seems that the earth cannot absorb any more water, but I also know that the composition of the soil is heavily clay and water is not easily absorbed in clay. Quite a few of the volunteers have arrived at the project with red mud all over them after coming off their bicycles. Meanwhile I continue to go by tuk-tuk and arrive unmuddied, but having had my free tuk-tuk massage as we negotiate the potholes and other hazards(chickens, ducks, dogs and vehicles) on the road.(Photo 652)
Road repairs are generally undertaken by women who squat at the roadside using mallets to break up the larger rocks and then place them by hand to create an uneven surface, which hopefully will be graded and tarmacked at some point.(Photo 701)

The project continues with its weaving products….some with traditional rattan and some with water hyacinth. (Photo 711)
A mushroom house has also been started. The aim is to be able to sell mushrooms to some of the hotels in town.The dark, musty hut is filled with containers that are kept moist. So far production is in its infancy, though some of the mushrooms have been used in our lunches.(Photos 779, 781 )

The children often bring in exotic bugs that they have found in the hopes of hearing me scream….they should know better by now, but they live in hope and I get to see some fascinating bugs….certainly a lot bigger than most in Canada.(Photo 748)

Tooth decay is a huge problem with the kids and they are encouraged to brush each day. It is sad to see their beautiful smiles marred by black cavities.(Photo 42)

I have been teaching with the older students since I arrived. Loung (my Khmer teaching partner) was moved up to this class and it is always a pleasure to work with him. And some of my students from the Tigers and Rhinos class have now become  “the big kids” and moved in to this class. It’s great to see how they have progressed over the three year period.

I have been teaching a unit on Simple Machines….supported by the book that Kelly Kieran’s class wrote. It has been a challenge to devise hands-on experiences for the students, but at the same time, I’m amazed at how you can rig up inclined planes, etc. with very little in the way of sophisticated materials. We’ve been using a chunk of wood for the load and dangling a plastic bag to which we add chunks of gravel as the force/effort. Not exacting science , but the results have been good enough to demonstrate the principles and even elegant enough to graph the results.(Photos 22,23 ). The kids love making the predictions about how many pieces of gravel it will take to move the load. I have a sneaking suspicion that they would place side bets on the predictions given half a chance.
I spent the morning at the market finding nuts and bolts to attach gears and finding plastic baskets with the right sized mesh to attach them to……the Khmer remained unfazed as a crazy barang attached plastic gears to different containers and they worked well enough to be able to demonstrate gear ratio to the kids(Photos 752,754)