Hello to all children, parents and staff of DPETNS in Ireland from Chairperson Ciarán.
Yes I did it…… I arrived after completing an epic 24 hour journey through Paris and Kuala Lumpur landing in Siem Reap last Tuesday. Our wonderful teacher Colm met me at the airport, accompanied by Sarakk (PEPY executive director) and Manin (PEPY IT coordinator) and it was great to see familiar faces once again. We immediately travelled to the head office and met up with the rest of the wonderful staff and students and I was bowled over by their friendliness and kind welcome to Cambodia.
On Wednesday I travelled to Kralanh district, about 60km from Siem Reap, to meet with families of PEPY scholarship students and to visit the Kralanh Secondary School. Colm and I were again very well received and we had great fun mixing and sharing some learning experiences with the students.
As part of the Dream Project we presented a topic on Positive Mental Health with the aid of our fine translator partners Sarakk and Savoeng. The students were very enthusiastic and asked some interesting questions about Ireland and Irish ways. Although it was a long day the atmosphere and general positivity with everyone in the school was fantastic. I will be revisiting the school in the coming weeks.
The area is very agricultural and rice farming is the leading crop. We visited the Bale and Paddy Art Festival 2016 where they created a replica of the Angkor Wat temple complex. The festival only comes alive at night time and we had the place to ourselves. A really interesting stall showed how they train apprentice mechanics on different car systems and how they function in cars.
Overall it has been a truly fascinating opening week here in Siem Reap.