29 August 2012

Work in progress.

Back here I promised to take some before and after photos of work in progress in the classroom, and I did. These were taken the next day. The finished product photos were taken today (10/9) and you'll find them on a later post.
Looking straight ahead as you walk in the door.

The rest of the room. Notice the wide open windows. We are not allowed to have A/C on unless the children are in the classroom. Fans help a bit, and if there's a breeze that's good too (although sometimes both create more problems than they solve by blowing things around) but it was a long hot week.

Mr Dy's corner

Classroom library is just about done.

The overflow of the classroom library.

27 August 2012

Something to think about ...

Tonight, as I was enjoying some Facebook time and catching up on blogs that I follow, I was delighted by this post. Please take a moment to read her post before you continue reading this one.

As I read Kara's reflections, it prompted me to think about the children I will be teaching this year. Each child who will come into my class this year is unique. He or she will bring his or her own special qualities, gifts, and needs. Each one has been placed in my classroom for a reason. I do not know what that reason is, but I do know that God will show me during the course of the year.

Teaching is a privilege and a huge responsibility. It was said today, that in Cambodian culture teachers are seen as just as important to children as parents, and at times even seen as "second parents". What a trust is placed on us.

As I start this year, I pray that God will lead me to know how He wants me to meet the individual needs of the children in my care. I pray that I will be open to His leading and guidance. I pray that I will be sensitive to their needs. I pray all this knowing that as I endeavour to lead and teach the children I will also be learning. I learn so much from the children in my care. I thank God for the privilege of serving Him and them in this way.

I also thank Him for those who pray for me! This is not a job I can tackle in my own strength. No way! It is His task, and I seek His strength, enabling, and patience to do the very best job that I can do, in His strength. I pray too that they will see Him in me.

First day back ... for teachers

I've been back in Cambodia for just over a week, and today was the first official day back at school for teachers. It was great to be back. There were lots of new faces, especially among the secondary staff, and it's looking like being a great year.

We all met in the hall, and it was time for the round of introductions, then a break to meet individual, then time for some sharing by the principal about the history and establishment of the school.

After that it was off to the classrooms! I did get most of my furniture moved one day last week, and had started unpacking stuff, but then managed to get sick, so it had pretty much stalled at the stage of the photos below.

Today, with the capable help of my trusty assistant Choundy (Mr Dy), much more progress was made. All the boxes are emptied, and quite a bit of stuff got put away. In between there was much sharing of information with new colleagues and a little planning going on. I'll take some before and after shots tomorrow, and let's hope it looks a lot more like a classroom by the end of the day tomorrow.
Now it's almost time for bed, since I havea meeting with my fellow 4th grade teacher tomorrow morning to finalise our lists of school supplies to be ordered before the whole of school meeting in the hall at 9am. Looking forward to another fun day of getting ready, and to meeting all my new students next week!

The Box - the end of the story

A quick update on the story of "The Box".

As I mentioned in my last post, I needed to empty the box once it was moved to see just how much damage had been done, to rectify what I could, and then repack. So that's what I did. The first stage was to completely empty the container, identifying as we did boxes which were ant infested or likely to need repacking due to mould or moisture. Unfortunately we found a heap of ants had found their way into the box (no doubt trying to escape the damp weather we had over the last two years) so there was quite a bit of cleaning and repacking to do as well as mould to be cleaned away.

Most of the stuff stacked on a tarp to air.

Another view of the same stuff.

The rest of the stuff.
 We covered both heaps of stuff with tarps overnight as the whole job took about three days. Too much stuff to deal with all the ants and mould and stuff in just one day. Before closing the box overnight we also painted with endrust the metal strip down the centre of the box on the floor, and then sprayed it thoroughly with indoor/outdoor insect spray. The next morning it was opened up to air thoroughly before we started packing. The next step was to hang a number of objects from the sides. This served a dual purpose of saving floor space and also creating some air space around the inside of the container.
Yes, I'll have a bed to sleep on when I eventually return down under!
 After that it was sort, put shelves in, fill the shelves, pack, clean, sort and put more stuff away.
Somethings have to be accessible, like the file cabinet. Note the mattresses now suspended from the ceiling as well. Hopefully this will both provide some insulation and allow air to more around them.

What remained about the time I took the photo above. Covered it up and finished the job the next day.

Done! The guardians of "The Box". The gentleman in this photo did a huge amount of work in helping me move, unpack and repack the box (along with another very helpful gent).
So it is now to be hoped that I will have little need to trouble "The Box" apart from occasionally filing of paperwork. I certainly don't intend getting anything else out of it. A huge thanks to those who helped me, and to the wonderful couple who just happen to have space on their block of land to safely house the shipping container. God is good!

08 August 2012

When a holiday is not a holiday ...

... when the shipping container full of your Aussie household goods (and precious books) is going mouldy and has to be relocated, emptied, cleaned, bug sprayed, and then repacked! Doesn't sound like much of a holiday to me either, but that's what I'm up to this week. Last week I did a little sorting, and Monday I did a bit more, but today was the big day.

I arose at the most unreasonable hour of six o'clock this morning. Yes, I know many people rise at that time or earlier every day, but I'm on holidays and besides which it was freezing cold. How do I know, because when I went out to the car at about 6.30am there was a layer of ice on it. I actually had to pour water over the windscreen several times to get it clear. Brrrrr! That dealt with I was on my way.

On arrival I moved a few things out, and a few move down from higher positions then closed it up again. Here's the story in pictures.

The box. Note how we've had to dig out the front right corner so we could open the doors.

Rear view after the box next door has been moved. See how the base is almost buried.

The very excellent crane that did the job.

Digging out the corners to get the points where the chains are fixed onto the shipping container.

Checking the chains with slight tension just before the lift.

Off the ground!


In the new location. Notice the bare ground where the containers had been resting.
With the drought broken, they had sunk into the ground quite a way.

Getting the big stumps in place to hold it off the ground. With air able to circulate more freely and any run off able to get away we're hoping that mould growth will be a thing of the past.

Once it was moved, the next job was to empty it and find out just how much damage there was. Actually, it was surprisingly little, although we did find a few redbacks and quite a number of ants nesting inside some of the boxes. Some cardboard boxes need to be replaced, and there's quite a bit of mould on some of the furniture but all in all, considering I was anticipating a 6 months absence when I first packed stuff up it's in pretty good shape.

Tomorrow is going to be another big day, with the cleaning, sorting and repacking needing to be finished by 2.45pm so I can get on with my AustSwim supervised experience. I guess there's no doubt that I won't be bored tomorrow!