So we mentioned in one of our first blog posts about our side project in addition to creating the mobile school... so here it is in more detail!!!
Banteay Oumpel Village is going to be the first village that Jimmy's mobile school will service with free English classes. Why this village? Jimmy has had a relationship with the people of this village for many years and has helped them in every way he possibly can since 2010. Whenever there has been an opportunity for external donations or organisations to help this village - he has grasped at it. The village are extremely appreciative of Jimmy's gratitude and Jimmy has been keen to teach the children of this village for some time, as they show so much potential.
As mentioned earlier in our trip, the mobile school will not be able to reach the heart of this village, due to the road being too narrow, rough, and often flooded. The village area is quite large, therefore there are those who don't live in the secluded area, and those who are able to travel by bicycle or motorbike out to where the main roads are. These children, who attend khmer school on the outskirts of the village, who are able to travel out, will attend classes with Jimmy's mobile English school, which will be set up close-by to the khmer school so the children can attend in class breaks. (In Cambodia, school hours are broken up with large breaks). For those who cannot travel out, to reach the mobile school, who are mostly the younger children or older children looking after their younger siblings whilst their parents are at work in the rice fields - a structure is needed, for classes to be offered in the heart of the village. For those who cannot leave. Due to the reasonable cost of constructing this shelter, as proposed to us by the village parents, Happy Kids Cambodia decided it was worthy of funding to ensure all the children in this village are able to access Jimmy's classes! So, over the past week, we have made 2 visits to Banteay Oumpel village - to bring the materials from town to create the structure - and to see the progress. Yesterday we visited to see the progress, and WOW what the villagers have constructed in just one day's work - is incredible. The villagers wanted to build this structure as a community, so we have stepped back and let them display their resourceful skills - and build the structure the best way they know. And what a magnificent job they have done. They have created - Banteay Oumpel village school. You can see below!
During our visit of just a few hours, they village men laid down bamboo poles as a foundation for a concrete floor. They then covered these with a mixture of cement and sand, and poured water onto the mixture by connecting lengths of pipe together from the village water well. It was so interesting to watch.
As with every visit to this village, the beautiful women put together a delicious lunch of local khmer food for all to enjoy together. On this day, the women not only cooked for us and the working men, but also all the children! They impressively cooked for what was easily over 50 people. On the way to visiting Banteay Oumpel, we always stop at a local market to buy fresh local vegetables for the ladies to cook. Yet the village produce their own rice - and it is as tasty and fresh as it gets! And so eye opening for us to see how the sustain themselves through local farming.
We took some photos of all the village men who contributed to building the village school, aswell as some other group photos, before we left. We plan to revisit Banteay Oumpel in a few days, and bring the finishing touches for the school - eg. a whiteboard!!!
Today we will continue to add some more features to the mobile school from local businesses. It's all coming together now!