22 October 2015

A well-travelled gift from a school friend

Another school week is over, and I'm enjoying the fact that I have another 3 day weekend. I've still got some marking to catch up on, and some planning and preparation to get done, but I'm feeling like I have a manageable workload again.

Yesterday I actually took an evening off and went out for dinner with an "old" friend. I say "old" not because of our ages, but because we knew each other 30 years ago, and haven't been in face-to-face contact for a long time. Thanks Eric, for making the time to catch up with me in my "home town", and for treating me to an evening out. It was a great time.

Eric also played courier for me, bringing a gift from a classmate from high school days. Some months ago, this friend asked if there was anything she could do for me and my classroom. I knew she loved sewing and making things, and I have long wanted some chair bags for my classroom, to give students a safe place to put folders while they are working on other papers. Up to now, the folders either had to go back in their cubbies, or on the floor under their chair. One required lots of movement (which is not always a bad thing), while the other could be hazardous to the health of the folder.

When I was in Australia at Christmas a few years ago, I found a great chair bag for just $2 in Big W. It was a perfect fit for my special teacher chair, but it was just a bit small for the student chairs. I was going to make them myself, but when Sandra offered, I thought it would be a great project for her, if I could just work out how to get them to Cambodia. Freight was going to be expensive, and with no guarantee they would actually arrive. When Eric mentioned he was coming to visit this month, I quickly asked if he would be willing to bring the chair bags with him. He agreed, and so the sewing began. I photographed and measured the chairs, and sent that information through to Sandra. She got busy, and one of her friends even loaned her a chair that was the same as one of the two types I have in my classroom. The next challenge was to get the completed bags from Sandra in Townsville to Eric in Maryborough (over 1000km). I connected the two of them, and they worked it out. Thank you.

On Monday, the bags finally arrived in Phnom Penh, having travelled from Townsville to Brisbane, to Burpengary, back to Brisbane, then on to Vietnam, Laos, and finally to Cambodia. Happily Eric now has space in his luggage for some souvenirs! Yesterday afternoon, Eric and his travelling companion visited my school, and saw my classroom. The chair bags had finally arrived.

This morning I put them on the backs of the chairs before the students came in. The students weren't sure what they were at first but they found out fairly quickly. With three tests to do today, the bags came in handy, storing the "testing folders" in between rounds of tests. I neglected to take photos of the bags with the folders in them, but they worked beautifully.

Here are a couple of closer views.
The big chairs

The little chairs
So I close this post with a great vote of thanks to my friend and fellow member of the class of 1980 at The Cathedral School of St Anne & St James, Sandra Hubert, and to my friend from my years in Brisbane, Eric Perkins. Thank you Sandra and Eric (and anyone else who helped along the journey of the chair bags).

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