17 November 2009


There's nothing like a Cambodian funeral right outside your house to put things back in perspective.

I got home from school this evening at the very reasonable hour of 7.15pm to discover a canopy had been erected across most of the street I live on. The black and white fabric around the lower edge of the canopy is an immediate indicator that it is a funeral rather than a wedding. If you're trying to imagine it, think about the old canvase style marquee, only larger and usually with pink and yellow trim. These are set up directly in front of which ever house is involved, and usually a couple of others as well. In this case there is actually a vacant block next to the house, so it's been set up in a way that results in limited inconvenience to the neightbors, unless you drive a car and want to go down the street from top to bottom, in which case you need to find another route. Unlike most Australian funerals, here the families grief is amplifed at a loud volume for all around to hear. When I got home it was the chanting, but a short time later this changed to a mournful song. It stopped around 8pm but there's a distinct possibility it will restart early tomorrow morning (weddings usually start about 5am, but I can't remember what time funerals start). See funerals here in Cambodia very much remind me of the pointlessness of life without the one living God. Somehow, all my troubles seem to be insignificant in the face of such hopeless grief.

I think I was starting to break free anyway of the negative mood that has threatened to overwhelm me during recent days, because I actually did get some work done after school this afternoon – got all tomorrow’s lessons planned, and Language Arts and Bible for Thursday and Friday done as well. Still got Maths and Science for the rest the week to do, but the Maths won’t take very long. Friday’s Science is a quiz, so I need to plan a very tight 80 minutes for Thursday to get across a couple of really important points. I hope I can do it, otherwise I’ll have to rewrite part of the quiz. Hopefully tomorrow I will also be able to clear my desk and get some papers graded and returned to the students. I get three 40 minute preparation periods on Wednesday, so it’s a good day to get some tidying up done.

Praise point – some of you reading this might remember my previous assistant, who now works in 3rd Grade – well, she has been accepted to do her “Masters” starting next July. She needs to do a pre-Masters course for six months, starting at the end of December, but she knows that once that is done she can move into the Masters program. She was very excited to tell me today that the school is going to sponsor her for a substantial part of her course fees in return for a commitment to stay at the school for a set amount of time. That was great news. Her dream is to go out into a provincial area and establish a Christian school there, providing a good quality education. I’m so pleased for her, because she really has the ability to do this. Also, it means we have a commitment from a good teaching assistant & Khmer teacher for a number of years to come. With expat staff changes occurring regularly it is really helpful to have good quality Khmer teaching assistants, especially in the lower grades.

Well on that positive note, I'll hope that I can publish this, and head off to the shower and bed! Oh the joys of 3rd world internet services. Still I'm very grateful to have them! Good night! Karen

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