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  

 

Advertisements


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  



He Bees
October 25, 2006, 4:00 pm
Filed under: sponsoring!, travelling in cambodia

Ok Ok, I know it is not really nice to laugh with my students but be honest, I be You be He Bees is funny right? Well, maybe I didn’t find it funny to read as an answer on a test because my first thought was : AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA I will kill her!!
So anyway, I discovered that patience is something you really need if you teach them. Luckily I think I have enough patience. My students are lovely young women, but sometimes they can be very stupid too . Although I think there probably is also a cultural difference, in the way of teaching/studying/tests/… so they have to get used to it and I have to get used to them too. But I hope they will make a progress because now when reading the tests I thought sometimes ‘no no no!’. but most of them worked well and nobody failed. But what the weird thing is; the first years were much better than the second years, and I teached the same and the same test and it should have been revision for the second years. So that is not so funny, because I am really wondering what they remember from last years. Or how education is here in cambodia… especially for girls and women.
Anyway, I will repeat and repeat and talk to them… they are soo great, and most of them have been through a lot, although I don’t know their stories yet. But when I was talking about familymembers for example, you hear a lot: he died … and when you ask what their dreams are: to help my family… you also feel that they appreciate you are here. They are surprised that people come from so far just to teach them, and they don’t even get paid for it. They are very interested in why we are here, who we are,.. they come to give us little gifts, or say that they missed us after a weekend,… So although the teaching can be very very tiring, I think it is good that we are here. As I said before, I only reach a few people by being here, but so what.. it all starts with a few no?
And remember ‘if you educate a man, you educate one person. If you educate a women, you educate a family’ (I am sorry but I forgot from who this was, I am bad in quoting)
One sister was telling that a lot of girls don’t have a real childhood because they have to work and take care for their little brothers or sisters. But she also told that some female teachers in their school told her: we will take care that it doesn’t happen to our daughters.
I think this is great, that is the goal no?
I am also reading a book about sexslaves and trafficking of women in asia (Louise brown)(haha, now I knew from who! I am getting better). It is not a relaxing book, but it gives a lot of insight.

But anyway, so I like the teaching.. I also start teaching to the staff. We divided them in three groups and I have the lowest group. But it is sooooooooo funny. They don’t know a lot.. one man cant even write in Kmer… so it is starting from the beginning… but we are laughing all the time because it is so difficult, for them and for me. So it is quiet funny. We will see how it goes..

So, the second volunteer, bernadette, arrived too. She is from Austria. She is the youngest of us and is a calm girl who is also enthousiastic about the teaching. So now we are three. We also eat together (and not with the sisters anymore)
And last weekend we went with the three of us to the south of cambodia (we had a long weekend, four days)> Thursday we arrived in kampot and had a look around the city there. Oh, in the evening we went to the traditional music and dance school, a school were orphins… learn more about traditional music. It was really nice and I gave a small donation from my sponsormoney.
Friday we took a pick up car (well, in a group and with a guide) to bokor national park. Beautiful nature… jungle! It was really nice but I have difficulties describing it… it was just beautiful nature. Very green. Lot of trees. Oh and a very bad road! On the way back some parts of our body were very painful… 
Saturday we went to Kep and took the boat to Rabbit island. A small island with a few people living there (fisher) and some beaches where nobody comes… warm blue water, palmtrees…. Very relaxing… we swom in the sea for like two hours… had very nice fish and fresh pineaple.. and went to bed really early because it was very very very dark at five (not really electricity ) oh, we slept in a little hut which was quiet funny. Very small, no light, and you could hear anything from outside (apparently weird animal noices, but I slept as a baby, as always…)
And Sunday back to Phnom Penh! Really nice weekend…..(few pictures online)

Next weekend again a long weekend, so we will be somewhere again.
But I really do work a lot here.
Really!
During the week it is quiet busy.. and we need the days off… because you are all the time at the same place with the students… so the days off are really nice. And it is soooo nice to see the country,. It is so beautiful here. But I cannot describe it. Maybe later I will be better in this. I think I am writing terribly for the moment, I am sorry, but I am tired!

But everything is fine here. Time goes by so quickly. I like it and I learn a lot. I have been thinking a lot about other things like religion, poverty… but maybe I will write more another time. Sometimes it seems to be a long time. I miss sometimes my independence, my freedom (but it is so relative if you compare with the girls’situation) and ofcourse david and some other people/things.

Anyway, I hope you are all fine too…..

I am going to my bed now!

Goodnight!

Jo x



Thank you!!!!
September 14, 2006, 9:19 pm
Filed under: sponsoring!, Uncategorized

I need to say “thank you “to a lot of people…

I raised -till now, it is not over yet- about 1800 euro!!! It is unbelievable… It all started by selling some cards (thanks to katrien and thomas!) and waffles (thanks to the organisation of my mother and the help of my grandmother, some friends of my mother,…!), but people also gave money or I discovered a deposit on my bank account from people I don’t know, my town gave me money,…. The money will be used in the project, or in other projects in cambodia I will visit… I will decide for what I use it when I am there, but I promise I will do something good with it!

Sometimes it is just unbelievable how much support you can get from people you don’t know so well.

Not only in money, but also in respect, support, … I received a few nice cards/emails/words/… and it sounds a bit too emotional now, but it is so nice to see that people support you. It means a lot to me if people say for example that they think it is good that I am doing this,…

So thank you! or “aakun chreun!”



Help me…?
June 26, 2006, 4:20 pm
Filed under: sponsoring!

Hello!

me again! how are you? i am fine… writing my thesis and reading books about cambodia (i went to the library and got a few! yeah!). So, most of you know what I will be doing in Cambodia? It is a school for children and young women who come from outside the city, they also sleep there. There are also other activities after schooltime. I will be mainly teaching english.. And I have a few questions: 

1. As you also know, I am not a native english speaker. And I am also not an english student. And I was never good in english at school. Well, i learned a lot of english by studying in dublin for one year ofcourse, but it is not that I am an english teacher. First the people over there emailed me: “the young girls you will be handling/teaching have already some foundation in English language and you may need more or English conversations, Grammar, Prose and a bit of literature.” today they also emailed that I will also teach elementary school kids.
I have absolutely no idea what they know and what they should learn. I will see over there I guess. BUT i also heared that they need really “practical” english, like how to talk with tourists.. or if they read something about mayonaise in their western english book, that they have a recipe to make it and to really taste what it is.
I am also not good in grammar and i don’t know a lot about literature. Lyrics are also fun, but I also don’t know what they mean all the time.
Ooooo and games for children, where they learn words? songs?
SOOO: my question: if you think you have some really good ideas for teaching or if you have some material that you can copy and send by post or send it by email (Jo_Frederix@hotmail.com), i will be very thankful.  I cannot take a lot of books to there, my luggage will be heavy anyway (what do you take for 9 months?), but i prefer to take one or two good basic english books, to teach myself a bit. if you have an old one.. or if you have a very good text on your pc and send it by email.. or whatever.. or recipes, lyrics where there is a meaning, storys, wordgames, songs… email me, write me, leave a comment…
THANK YOU!!
2. I am also “collecting money”. Today they emailed me:”…we could buy what we need most urgently
like rice, food for the children and the girls, because we do not have people to support us and the girls are too poor to pay for their food and materials. We have about 70 children and young girls staying with us who are really very poor and we need to support them.” is about where I am staying.
you also see on the pictures (see: links: vides UK) some very mmm how do you say it.. “empty” classrooms.
Also: I will visit some other projects in cambodia, like projects who work with children who work as garbage pickers (http://www.cchcambodia.org/index.html)
and i will decide how much money i give to which project,… so i will know where the money is going to. So if you want to support the projects, please let me know by email or a comment. I also am selling a few cards, my mum will be selling waffles, …. but if you feel like supporting more, you are welcome. You are also still welcome by giving money later, if I am already in cambodia and you read my stories.

thank you very much to read this!

love,

Jo x