24 October 2009

Water Tanks and Painting Competitions

Just what do water tanks and painting competitions have in common? Nothing, except that both had to be dealt with today.

First the fun stuff. A couple of weeks ago the principal received an invitation from the local Chevrolet dealership inviting us to bring our elementary students and their parents to a painting competition at their showroom this morning. We were given a choice, but all decided that we'd like to give the kids the opportunity, and that we would give up our Saturday morning to do it. Well, we end up with about 30-40 kids and about the same number of parents, loaded up a bus, and headed off. Traffic was heavy, but we arrived on time, and the kids had fun. They were all given a packet of coloured pencils, a piece of art paper, and a Chevy car brochure and invited to draw their favourite Chevy car. In the end some drew other things, but they all had fun. Then we were provided with drinks and pizza packages, and finally there was the prize giving. The kids had a great time, and some came away with some great prizes, and it was a good chance for some of the parents to meet each other in an informal environment as well.

From there it was a dash home to meet the landlord's wife, to try and resolve a problem with our water tank. These tanks sit on the roof, and the town water is pumped up to them, and then flows from them to the house. The advantage of this system is that if we lose the town water supply, we've probably got enough water for a day or two at least if we are careful. Unfortunately the last couple of mornings and evenings I noticed a strange smell to the water when I was having a shower, like something was dead in the water. Well, I finally had time to go up and check it out this morning, and discovered that, for some totally unknown reason, someone had removed the lids from both my tank and my next door neighbour's. Unfortunately it also appeared like a cat had been sitting on top of my and urinating in it! Hmm. (I've since drained the tank completely and refilled it, so hopefully we won't have any nasty consequences.) Fortunately there didn't seem to be any foreign bodies in it, so I put the lid back on and phoned the landlord. He was out of town, but agreed that his wife should come and see what we could do. I was fortunate to be able to get one of our Khmer staff to come and translate for me (who also happens to be very clever about these things and was able to communicate clearly what needed to be done, and get some answers for me), since she speaks very little English, although her husband speaks English reasonably well. In the end they have agreed to have a cage made to secure the tank, that we can put a lock on, and prevent unauthorised access to the tank, and sometime after the Water Festival holidays (which are very quickly approaching), when they finally put a new roof on, they will also actually put a steel grill all the way around the roof area. This will make it a much more safer place, for hanging laundry, and relaxing. I might even hang a hammock or two up there once it's done. The roof top is quite a pleasant place to relax in the evenings, since it gets lovely breezes, although the access (via a ladder) isn't so exciting. We will see when it happens.

Meanwhile, as well as the parent conferences yesterday we snuck in a trip out to the new building. It's looking good as you can see from the photo above. Tiles are down, and the first coat of paint is on. The basketball court has been roofed and enclosed, and looks great. The picture above is the front of the building, what is seen as you drive in the front gate. The building is L-shaped, and this side of the L has Pre-K classrooms (2), Art Room, and Music Room on the ground floor, the Library, elementary computer lab, and 1st grade classroom on the 1st floor, Science labs, middle-high school computer lab and classrooms on the 2nd floor, and more middle-high school classrooms and the multipurpose room on the 3rd floor. The other part of the L has 2 Kindergarten classrooms, the main foyer, and the administration area on the ground floor, 4 classrooms (Grades 2 - 5) and a large office/workroom on the 1st floor, 4 more classrooms and more office/workrooms on the 2nd floor, and then the cafeteria and kitchen on the 3rd floor. There are spacious hallways, and two sets of stairs, and greatly improved change room facilities for both swimming pool and basketball court. We are getting excited about the move, although there is still a long way to go. At this stage the first main event on the new campus will be our Christmas program on 11th December, and it's scary just how close that is.

Ok, that's all for now. I'll try and post more regularly, but that depends on school work being done first! And I've got a mountain of that to do. Fortunately I've got a brief holiday to catch up on some stuff from next Friday to the following Tuesday. Thursday is a teacher work day, which probably means meetings! I asked the principal today why we should have to be there when we know the elementary principal isn't going to be there. He didn't really have an answer, so I guess I'll just make the most of it, and hope the meetings don't go all day!

In His service


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