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Monday, December 11, 2006

Deb - Volunteer Update # 2 (December, 2006)

I have completed the first full week of volunteer work. It took a few days to get into the routine. When I attended the first class last Friday the classroom was a small grass hut with a mud floor. To my surprise, when I arrived Monday for the same class a new classroom had been built over the weekend. A cement structure, no windows, but of similar size, again with a mud floor. The grass hut formerly used as the classroom is now the home of the teacher who teaches this class full time.

This class is surprisingly hard to prepare for. They have no books to follow. I spend at least one hour each night trying to think of activities to do with 20 children. Thankfully, some kind folks from the US sent two full suitcases of books, pencils, crayons and flash cards to the Guest House to be used by the schools. Unfortunately some of the material can't be used as it refers to items the kids aren't at all familiar with such as skates, houses, Santa Claus, firetrucks etc. I actually resorted to teaching them how to do the Hokey Pokey last Friday which they thoroughly enjoyed but I'm sure they are still all laughing at my singing skills.

The afternoon class in the Temple is quite a bit easier. They have a book to follow and each day we complete one lesson. Learning English helps them get the better jobs in either the hotels or as tourist guides. Most of the students are quite advanced although their pronunciation is very poor as they have been taught by other Cambodians. Cambodians typically drop the last few letters of each word so the students tend to do the same with English. Example They say 'ri' vs 'rice'. Very difficult to understand.

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