Sharing is Carrying - ABC's and Rice Action

As won't set up my own NGO, it would be useless in opinion as there are so many here already, I've decided to spread the word among my Polish friends and ask them to donate some money for the NGO called ABC's and Rice working in Siem Reap.
I really believe that together we can collect a few dollars and give it to the people who will know how to make use of it. I truly count on my friends' generosity.

I will soon publish my bank account number so that anyone who is interested and trust me, can transfer cash to it. After money's been colllected, I'll give it to ABC's and write a full report on what the money has been used for.
Tell your friends and families!!!

Sharing is carrying.
Here few dollars make a massive difference.



Work, School... Bits and Pieces

I'm finally back to work. Or backish :-)

I'm working only two hours a day, which will change I hope in coming weeks. I guess I haven't made much of an effort in looking for more work. Gosh, I've been soooo unbeliveably lazy recently. So lazy that I've even neglacted my writing.

So true!!!

But a bit about schools in Cambodia

Cambodian educational system is very poor mostly due to lack of well-trained teachers. Intellectuals were killed by Pol Pot and so at the end of the war there was nobody who could train new staff. At the end of the war, as I was told, anybody who could read and write would teach other people the skills. Naturally, it's getting better and better these days but there's a long way ahead Cambodia. Well qualified teachers are in demand but...
Teachers are very badly paid (ha!!! that's new, hey?!)  I don't have exact figures but they earn something around 20 dollars a month (in a state school). They get so little that many teachers will charge students additionally for classes (I was recenlty told that in one of the schools students pay for they regular clesses around 500riel a day, $1=1000riel). The sum may be not big, but in a month it adds up to serious money and someof the poorest people really can't afford going to school. Although however, I've just read in LIFT, the additional to the Phom Penh Post, that this year high school graduates are best-prepared group of proscpect students in more than decade.

Universities are nests of bribery. It's a common knowledge that if you have money you don't really have to study. Buying a degree as easy as buying a motorbike. However, more and more people are becoming aware that a piece of paper is not everything and actually it should be backed by some practical skills. More and more knowlegable/reasonable people in Cambodia are trying to convice the youth that they actually should attend classes, that they should put some effort and make the most out of what they have the access to. It's well known here that Cambodian menpower loose by far the compoetiotion on the labour market with more skilled workers from Thailand or Vietnam. Lots of companies investing in Cambodia will outsource empoyees from these countries as often there are no well-qualified workers here. So, slackers beware as "Only highly qualified, multi-skilled and well-disciplined candidates will even warrant consideration from employers looking to fill high_level openings in business and organizationsfacing the need to meet international standards to remain comercially viable."

All this reminds me of what Poland is still going through when it comes to education.

Private univeristies are mashrooming.

There is some rudimentary ministerial control over them but once the school opens it produces masses of graduates with no skills whatsoever.
And everybody wants to be managers. Being a top executive here means that one is rich and doesn't have to do much. Rarely do students understand that such work needs particular knowlegde and years of experience.

I'm teaching for a profit-making school with headquaters in Phnom Phen. I taught there where I first came to Cambodia and it is a bit natural for me that I've returned. But actually I'm a bit disappointed with the fact that the institution hasn't much changed in last two years. The managemnet expects from the staff much but the thing is that everything here is ill-managed: mixed ability clesses to excess, the books are not well selected, students are not well placed. In one calss, I can have sometimes early high school and late university students, all at different levels. But the worst thing is that many students pay for courses just to get to another level without doing much. Of course not all the students. There are some smart cookies among them and to find them in priceless.

Anyway, I'm happy to be in a classroom again. I'm happy that I teach so few hours and I can, therefore, experimant with some of my new ideas. I teach for the kicks. I love it. I occasionally hate it too or rather I hate to admit sometimes that I haven't yet developed so many skills that teaching practice requires. This will come with time I believe.
I like my students a lot. They inspire me. Yes, the system is fucked up, true. Sometimes I'm annoyed with my learners that they quite don't get it that if they want to earn themselves better future, they should study. But I don't preach them, no. Who am I to do it? It's not my role. I will be happy if they learn anything. I'll be happy seeing them come to my clesses and not play truant. I'll be happy if some of them realize that people who come here care. I care even doing soooo as I am.

 A little about people here who care - more is coming soon

There are soooo, soooo many people who work for people here. It's just unbelieveable - people with open hearts, good-willed people who I'll write about soon.

This I recommend for the begining:!/group.php?gid=122668709163


In addition
 We are fooding a bit here. The rainy season. The river is very, very high. Has flooded the other side of the bridge. We're still quite ok here. But I've got a feeling I'll need one of these soon:

 Actually, I could start a new trend here in Siem Reap. :-)


Some Facts and Comments About Cambodia for a Good Start

It's been a week here and I feel that I should write something before I get so lazy as not to come anywhere close to the computer. Writing needs some discipline and these days... I'm not disciplined at all.

Anyway... I'm in Siem Reap, in the Siem Reap province in the Kingdom of Cambodia. I'll spend here a bit of time and I would like to give my readers some overview of what is going on in the country at the moment but also I would like to tell you more about the country's history. Yes, I believe that eveybody has heared about Angkor  Wat, Pol Pot and the Killing Fields but the country has much more to offer than this. I'll show you places to go in Siem Reap: restaurants, pubs, hotels, hostels. I'll write about expats who live here and their influence on the community both good and not so. I'll show you NGOs wroking here and helping Cambodians to build their country, country that was totally destroyed materially and intelectually . Cambodia will be my experiment in writing reports for you so that you know more and so I understand deeper what these people here are about.

Quick Overview

Cambodia faces the whole array of problems: poverty, lack of good education, corruption, lack of basic infastructure, violation of human rights, to name only few. With Laos, Cambodia remain one of the poorest countries in the region of South-East Asia. According to International Monetary Found (2009), Cambodia's GDP ammounts to 2,015 international dollars, putting it in the 145th place in the world (there are 181 countries on the list)."Between one third and one half of its 13 million people live in abject poverty on less than USD1 per day, and the number rise every year." (John Tully, A Short History of Cambodia, Silkworm Books, 2006, p. 229)
In the same book we read that almost 50% of the country's budget relies on foreign aid donations which, unfortunately, are so often embezelled and stole by greedy officials. It seems that everybody takes money here: policemen, high-school and university teachers, clerks, doctors - anyone who has any kind of power.

Prostitution and child prostitution are big, though the governement is trying to take some steps to prevent it. Two years ago I spoke to girls and asked why they did it, they'd smile and say that if not this, they'd rot somewhere in the countrysite. It's their job that allows them to support their impoverished families, their children and helps them to survive. It would be a mistake, however, to think that prostitution is driven only by the demand from Western men. Brothels are massively popular among local men who sometimes tend to treat women worse than their motorbikes.

I know that the picure I've just painted is not a pretty one. But it's just one side. Cambodia has it's bright side too: crazy music that so many Westeners hate as it'll wake up you at 5 am blasting from laudspeakers to announce a wedding or a funeral and continues to balst for a few consecutive days. Cambodia has its ghosts and believes, celebrations and offerings, festivals... and all these so oriental, so interesting and captivating. All these to be discovered. :-)