The adventures of Jo!


February…
March 6, 2007, 2:28 pm
Filed under: my life in cambodia, projects, sponsoring!, travelling in cambodia

Oops I am sorry for my absence… but… I am back! And apparently you still want to read because there are still people visiting my site, even if I didn’t write for such a long time. Probably I didn’t write because I have” my personal diary” and I type everything in emails and not on this site. Anyway, I am fine! Still teaching (which is sometimes very nice, a lot of fun and also rewarding. And sometimes frustrating) and visiting the country and enjoying and getting brown (well, “Jo brown” which means white with a little brown color in it)  

But…February… If I think about last month I think about….: 

*The Garbage dump. In February I “visited” two times the dump. If you think about all the garbage the capital in your country and you put it all just on the ground, and you imagine high temperature, no rain (for the moment) ,: you can imagine how it looks. And how it smells. A big mountain, smoke, bad bad smell. And people working on it. And (naked) children. Little children. If you see toddlers running around barefoot, as if it is normal (well, I guess for them it is normal. But that makes it even worse), like in a garden, you ask yourself questions. They shouldn’t be there. But they have to work, pick the garbage. For almost no money. They live in a house next to the garbage. The “a room with a view” gets a new meaning here! Anyway, I visited the first time with a lot of children of the CCH (see links on this page! On your left side I think). They are children who used to work on this dump. Now they are in the centre. Sometimes they come back: they give the children who are on the dump bread, they play with them, they read stories, they dance, they learn them to wash their hands… very very beautiful to see, an experience I will never forget. I visited the CCH and the dump the second time with my mother (see later). It was nice to see them all again, very nice children and staff, they gave you anytime a warm welcome. Of course it is good, they take care of the children who should not be on this dump. It is even very good. And it is also good if you support them (about supporting: a part of your sponsormoney went also to the CCH!) but still I think other things there should be done. Why do the people have to do this kind of job? Why is there this awful smelly mountain in the first place? But apparently nobody here, who is important enough to change things, is asking these questions.  

*the visit of The Mother. Mothers are weird creatures, no? They say they are scared of flying and that they are not interested in countries which are so far away. And still, one day they are standing in front of your nose. And with a lot of chocolate, “Den Humo” and Jenever (but keep this quiet for the sisters). Very nice to show someone at home how my life is here. And to have some decent conversations, in Dutch! We visited some things in the country, some projects too,… and we stayed here in the centre, my mother was in my class sometimes (good student!), she learned to dance,…. Yes, very nice. You can admire our faces on the pictures page 

*One year!February was also the month of realising that time goes fast (when you are in love). 

“That’s all, teacher!” (The way my students end something when they speak or write)  

Kiss,Jo  

 

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About schoollife and your money!
November 29, 2006, 3:33 pm
Filed under: my life in cambodia, projects, sponsoring!

Hello everyone! It`s been a while that I wrote on here. Shame on me! How are you?I am fine! More and more I am starting to get to know my students better and I feel that I am also growing as a teacher. I try more things and I follow more my own style of teaching. I also know the girls better. It is sometimes weird to be a teacher here, because after schooltime you are getting more and more friends with them too. You talk to them, they learn me khmer,… very nice!Last Saturday I also went to a birthdayparty of a sister of a student of me. I was very happy she invited me and it was a nice party. Nice to observe some things, like how boys and girls behave to eachother (girls don’t really speak with the boys.. my students who normally talk a lot, were very silent when they were close). Sometimes it is difficult teaching here, not because of the language or something, but because on on hand it is less organised but on the other hand there are some stupid, strict rules. The combination of the two can make it very frustrating sometimes. You don’t have materials, there are not enough teachers or teachers are absent, hours can change every five seconds,, nobody checks what you are doing in your lesson,… are the chaotic, not organised examples. But there are also these rules that the (Asian?) sisters have or on some things they can be strict. Most of the time I don’t get annoyed by it. I am quiet flexible and I knew this in advance too. And I can adapt myself to a lot of situations. Sometimes it can be more frustrating. But anyway, I don’t make myself angry in it, that is no use. I try to work in all kind of situations, it is interesting. And sometimes it also has his advantages. Anyway, I just try to focus on doing my best with the girls. Other things I did in the past weekends…mmm I went swimming one time! Can you imagine, lying outside at a swimmingpool in november? And I also went shopping and I walked around in town. Relaxing things. But you need it. Well, I need it sometimes. 

Then I wanted to write something about the sponsormoney. I gave till now some little amounts to projects here and there that I came across during travelling (see earlier things I wrote). I gave a bigger part to the sisters here, to use for my students. Let me explain, these students are studying Home and Food management. So they learn how to cook. But there is not enough money to buy all the ingredients, so the girls have to buy it and bring to class. But they are too poor to buy it all the time. So they learn a lot of cooking without cooking. So part of the money is going to ingredients.Another small part I used for the volunteers room. We have a volunteersroom but it was more like a doctors waiting room (ilarias words). Because I think the volunteers here are very important and they also deserve something nice (not only this years volunteers, but also for the next years) I bought a radio and a pinboard. On the pinboard there are now pictures, a calendar…. So our room looks nicer now and we have music!I think in total I used now about half of the money. I will give a better report at the end of the year. If people still want to donate, just email me (Jo_Frederix@hotmail.com) and will give you my belgian bank account.I (and the other volunteers) also started to make an english “book”. The girls don’t have english books here, they write everything down in a notebook. I also started with making copies for them with the money. But I am typing now in word a kind of book. They need some special english, about hotel, restaurant… and they need basic english.. so a combination of the two, that you don’t really find in excisting books. So if this is finished I will give maybe more money to the school here to print this book for the next years.  

So, I hope the people who helped me are happy that they know a little bit more J But I am happy here. Sometimes it seems to be a long time or you miss some things. But there are so many nice moments that makes you feel warm and happy and you forget the less nice moments like that in a second. now I can already tell you about the nice moments of last month but I don’t remember the other moments. That is good no? Oh and not only the people here make me feel that way. I am still receiving nice mails and cards from people who are reading this. They say me things like “you are doing a good job”or “because of you I realised there are so many possibilities in life”That makes me go wooooooooooow. Thank you so much. Love,Teacher Jo X  



About schoollife and your money!
November 29, 2006, 3:27 pm
Filed under: my life in cambodia, projects, sponsoring!

Hello everyone! It`s been a while that I wrote on here. Shame on me! How are you?I am fine! More and more I am starting to get to know my students better and I feel that I am also growing as a teacher. I try more things and I follow more my own style of teaching. I also know the girls better. It is sometimes weird to be a teacher here, because after schooltime you are getting more and more friends with them too. You talk to them, they learn me khmer,… very nice!Last Saturday I also went to a birthdayparty of a sister of a student of me. I was very happy she invited me and it was a nice party. Nice to observe some things, like how boys and girls behave to eachother (girls don’t really speak with the boys.. my students who normally talk a lot, were very silent when they were close). Sometimes it is difficult teaching here, not because of the language or something, but because on on hand it is less organised but on the other hand there are some stupid, strict rules. The combination of the two can make it very frustrating sometimes. You don’t have materials, there are not enough teachers or teachers are absent, hours can change every five seconds,, nobody checks what you are doing in your lesson,… are the chaotic, not organised examples. But there are also these rules that the (Asian?) sisters have or on some things they can be strict. Most of the time I don’t get annoyed by it. I am quiet flexible and I knew this in advance too. And I can adapt myself to a lot of situations. Sometimes it can be more frustrating. But anyway, I don’t make myself angry in it, that is no use. I try to work in all kind of situations, it is interesting. And sometimes it also has his advantages. Anyway, I just try to focus on doing my best with the girls. Other things I did in the past weekends…mmm I went swimming one time! Can you imagine, lying outside at a swimmingpool in november? And I also went shopping and I walked around in town. Relaxing things. But you need it. Well, I need it sometimes. 

Then I wanted to write something about the sponsormoney. I gave till now some little amounts to projects here and there that I came across during travelling (see earlier things I wrote). I gave a bigger part to the sisters here, to use for my students. Let me explain, these students are studying Home and Food management. So they learn how to cook. But there is not enough money to buy all the ingredients, so the girls have to buy it and bring to class. But they are too poor to buy it all the time. So they learn a lot of cooking without cooking. So part of the money is going to ingredients.Another small part I used for the volunteers room. We have a volunteersroom but it was more like a doctors waiting room (ilarias words). Because I think the volunteers here are very important and they also deserve something nice (not only this years volunteers, but also for the next years) I bought a radio and a pinboard. On the pinboard there are now pictures, a calendar…. So our room looks nicer now and we have music!I think in total I used now about half of the money. I will give a better report at the end of the year. If people still want to donate, just email me (Jo_Frederix@hotmail.com) and will give you my belgian bank account.I (and the other volunteers) also started to make an english “book”. The girls don’t have english books here, they write everything down in a notebook. I also started with making copies for them with the money. But I am typing now in word a kind of book. They need some special english, about hotel, restaurant… and they need basic english.. so a combination of the two, that you don’t really find in excisting books. So if this is finished I will give maybe more money to the school here to print this book for the next years.  

So, I hope the people who helped me are happy that they know a little bit more J But I am happy here. Sometimes it seems to be a long time or you miss some things. But there are so many nice moments that makes you feel warm and happy and you forget the less nice moments like that in a second. now I can already tell you about the nice moments of last month but I don’t remember the other moments. That is good no? Oh and not only the people here make me feel that way. I also had some really nice mails and cards from people who are reading this. They say me things like “you are doing a good job”or “because of you I realised there are so many possibilities in life”That makes me go wooooooooooow. Thank you so much. Love,Teacher Jo X  



Temples!
November 12, 2006, 3:05 am
Filed under: projects, travelling in cambodia

Hello,

After one day of waterfestival in Phnom Penh (very nice, lot of people), we decided to pack our bags and go in the direction of Siem Reap! Sunday morning at the busstation we discovered that we were stupid because we didnt reserve a ticket. no place in the 8.15 bus, only at 11.30 bus. we decided to go first to another buscompany to try there.. when a cambodian guy from the no-places-on-8.15 bus heared that, he called someone. Suddenly there was also a bus at 8.45! we had the first seats… I love cambodia. belgian busguys would never find a new bus for you!

Arriving in Siem Reap it was clear that this was quiet different than other cambodian cities we have seen. Touristic, very western looking and more expensive and even more people who are trying to sell you things … a bit annoying sometimes, but still it was also nice to have some western food and stuff.

Monday we visited the Angkor Wat and other temples in the temple complex. Very nice and very interested… I took a lot of pictures but only placed a few online, because if you can find a lot of pictures of the temples on the internet, try google!

Tuesday we decided we were already sick of the many tourists and we took a taxi and drove 60 km outside siem reap to a temple called Beng Melea (i think, my memory is not so  good today). Wonderful. quiet. jungle. snakes! (really, we almost stepped on one! and our guide said it was a dangerous one! but it was also a small one and nothing happened. we are carefull) really really beautiful.

back in siem reap, we visited the market. ohohoh for someone like me it is very difficult to visit markets in cambodia. so many nice things… (too many choices)

 Wednesday we first went to the Landmine museum. Although it is very very small and I am not interested in technically stuff about mines, I liked it. it made me realise how many mines there were and still are in cambodia and how many people are victims of that. the guy who runs the museum also takes care of some children who are victims of the landmines.

 in the afternoon me and bernadette visited the Cambodian Cultural Village. for the belgians: a bit like bokrijk. information about culture and history of cambodia and a lot of shows, dances…. I liked the atmosphere there. a lot of cambodian people and such a relaxed atmosphere. all the time laughing… nice.

 now we are back here, ready to work again! the long weekends are finished for a while, so the next weeks we will visit more of Phnom Penh. but probably my next blog posts will not be about my travels, but more about other things. I still have to think about what 🙂

My students are all ok and trying to work hard.

Kiss,

JO



first time outside Phnom Penh!
October 6, 2006, 3:28 pm
Filed under: my life in cambodia, projects, travelling in cambodia

Hi!

Monday and tuesday: first days school for the elementary school and kindergarden. children come to me, look at me (how tall I am, or at my freckles…), touch me, laugh at me, talk khmer to me… the little ones pretend they are in prison, crying all the time, being sick, calling for their mummy… the parents, worried and concerned, but proud…

wednesday: sister Maria had to go to another sister community in Battambang for two days. And I went with her! we were leaving early to be there around 1pm. sitting in the car was very cool… so much to see… rice, lots of rice.. very flat country (what i have seen till now), little wooden houses, a lot of water (it has been raining a lot lately), poverty,… soo different….

arriving in battambang, one of the sisters there took me and agness, the chinese woman, around. small city, not so busy as phnom penh. nice. we went to visit a few projects with people with handicap. dont know if you know it, but there were and still are in some areas a lot of landmines in cambodia.

but what interested me the most was the work of the sisters here. they have a little centre for literacy and skills training for girls between 16-25 years i think. these girls come from very poor, traditional villages. most of the time they didnt go to school because they couldnt pay it, or because the school was far away and it was too dangerous to go there. some of them have a history of abuse. or another girl was sold by her family. trafficking of girls and children… so the sisters try to teach them a few things (reading, writing, making things….) but also try to give them a home and the chance to develop themselves as a person.

i met a few girls and they were really nice! thursday there was a market in town and the girls also were selling thigns so I helped them a bit (and i bought things ofcourse). you can feel they attach quickly to persons (by the way, this is also here in PP, the children really come to hug you all the time and ask you if you like them, say that they love you…   ) I went round the market with them and they said thank you for that…

anyway it really touched me. and i will support that centre but i have to think about how many money i will give to each centre… am now looking around a bit and will decide that later

coming back in PP was nice. there are some girls here who do a teacher training who asked if I could teach them a bit in the evening, some english. they are about my age so that is also great and they will teach me more Khmer.

I am getting used to this life. I like it. the sisters are great too, I see them working hard, take care for the students here,… they are good women, although i dont agree with everything they say but that doesnt matter. I admire them for their work. and they can be soooooooooo funny and cool too!

it is strange how we can have certain ideas about groups of people. judgements we make. sisters are like that. asian people are like that. generalisations. for example: asian people are closed and you will never know what they think. by saying that, you say the same thing about sooooooooo many people. I mean, people who were on erasmus, noticed already that people from another culture in europe can be different. we wouldnt like to be called the same as people in france, germany, england, the netherlands… but we do it for people in africa, asia…. it is normal that we do it I think, but we should realise it. the same about sisters. i also had a certain idea and i think a lot of you have. anyway, i am not going to write more about it or i will still be writing tomorrow morning.

but everything is very good here. I enjoy being here, meeting people, being confrontated by so many things, learning…

I hope you are good there too… thanks for all the emails or reactions or what so ever, it is nice to hear from you too!!!

 kiss,

Jo