Friday, January 09, 2009

CAMBODIA | Sowree & Friends Go to School

Hi all, Sour Sdei, Happy New Year 2009!

Traditionally, education were offered by the wats (Buddhist temples). Then in 1975 when Khmer Rouge regime came into power, education systems were abolished, destroying learning materials and schools. But in 1979, the new Cambodian Government came into place, and soon after that modern education came into order.

And this is my short humble story.

My name is Sowree*, I am a year 3 student in Cambodia. My parents said that, if I study hard, when I grow up, I can become a succesful entrepeneur, and helps to improve the live of our family and also to better improve the living quality of our country.

I know most of my friends around the world started their new school term last week, and now I would like to share our daily school day in where we live.

We have a very small wooden school in our village, it only have a single clasroom, and we have to take turn to use the area for our study.

Not all children are able to study, my friend Sokha, is still not eligible to study, but he always come to school, watching and observing what the student are learning.

These are two of my friends, Samay and Channe. Samay feels sad because this is the first time he attended the class and the first time being away from his family.

This is what we are learning today, and on the board is our alphabets. That is our teacher, Ms. Rom Chang. We love our teacher because, our teacher have taught us how to read and write.

Mr. Montha is also one of our teachers. He is a very humble guy, and when we are sad, he always entertained us with his magician skills and his joke, although his jokes and magics were sometimes lame, but we just laugh with him as not to hurt his feeling. (Don't tell him that, that is our secret.)

This is when my friends were shown one of our workbooks, and they were praised of having a good high marks. I am proud of them.

Breaktime is one of our favourites. We can eat our food. The food are usually prepared at home by our parents, so we eat it and share it with our friends.

Oh, I have not actually mentioned the whereabout of my school.

This is our school. It is actually a floating school. I was informed that some of my friends in Brunei also have lots of schools built on the water, and some are connected via jetties.

Unfortunately, we do not have jetties connecting from one school to another, as each individual establishment are built on its own boat or barrage. So how do we get to school?

This is how we get to school, by human powered paddle boat. That is my friend, Prak, rowing the boat to school, carrying along his small sister, Veatta. It will get more interesting if it is a rainy day. Although at times we wanted to just swim to school but the teacher do not allow us, because it will wet our school uniforms.

Now, I will also share with you, how my other friends living on land travel to their school.

For those lucky few, they are sent to the school by their father on motorbike.

Otherwise, we just cycle to school. A good form of exercise to keep ourselves healthy, who knows we might represent the country for the Olympics!

And for those who cannot afford to get a bicycle, we just walk to school, mostly in groups, comes rain, comes shine, despite not having those fancy footwears, we just walk ahead, because we wanted to gain knowledge and change our living condition.

And even with having no footwear at all does not stop us from coming to school! For the sake of knowledge we will walk all the way to the peak of success.

So my friends, I hope we all should not waste our resources, be thankful of what the government have been providing for us. Some are lucky to be chauffered around in an airconditioned vehicle, yet some have been denying the privileges of schooling on their own accord, like escaping from school, being lazy and such.

Please my friends, do not quit school, they are many more unfortunate children who are longing to have a proper school environment, as opposed to writing from the "ink" of the dark forest roots, and writing on the dried papyrus leave.

*NOTE: All the names are fictional.


Murabiyyah said...

Wow fero, the images you took are really powerful and each has its own story to tell (your story gave it cohesion as well though)

I think the boy from the outside looking in is quite a poignant one...

Thanks for sharing the link!

G-`FerRo said...

.. I hope u didn't cry finishing the story ...

.. imagine being there in person ... it was a really heart-rending moment ...