CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES
Share Piet Po’s wonderful achievements and determination.
ODA Schools Manager, Piet Po proudly on his university Bachelor Graduation Day. Read below
MOSQUITO UPDATE! They’re loving the Monsoonal rain
Oh no!!! Suddenly more ODA students are hit with the Chikungunya (CHIKV) virus. They have some mosquito repelling machines and use personal repellent but the mosquitos managed to penetrate through all that this last week. As mentioned in the last newsletter it is not deadly and has only a 3 / 4 day life in a human system, but the fevers require a drip to bring them safely down and the head and muscle aches are very unpleasant.
In hospitals in Cambodia you have to provide your own carer who does everything for you except medical. So the older ODA kids roster to be on duty with the sickies! With this Health Center being very close to ODA sending meals for the kids is quite easy. I think they have been sharing with some other patients who are doing it tough in this COVID lockdown situation. Their Buddhist beliefs create such a lovely sharing component in these villages despite the extreme poverty for many right now.
ODA’S ONLINE CLASS EFFORTS
This is a pic of the teachers on line classes with scheduled teachers joining Piet Po each day. It's hard to take a pic of on line student classes as only the teacher is present.
In the past families had one or two members working in and around the tourism industry in Siem Reap. Many of these had bought inexpensive smart phones and now they have no employment and living back in the villages, they and their smart phones are helping the ODA students to study on line via ODA Teachers Facebook Groups.
Still dealing with difficulties of poor reception to download visuals and also students lack of money to buy phone credit and teachers not skilled in this teaching process among other things, but they are all giving it their best shot. Overcoming obstacles is just part of daily life for these village families.
HARDSHIP AND STRONG MOTIVATION
Delivers Piet Po's dreams.
Now ODA’s Schools Manager, It’s been a tough road for Piet Po to get to here today. We are so proud of our teachers strong determination. Read his education story below.
My name is Po Piet. I am 29 years old. I was born into a poor family. I am married and we have a son. He is 9 months old.
I live with my parents-in-law which is the tradition in Cambodia.
My parents and all of my brothers and sisters are farmers. Luckily, I am the first person in my family who struggled in the education field to finish year 12. Life was very difficult as my family were living in poverty without enough food, so I usually went to school in the mornings and worked really hard in the field in the afternoons. After finishing my year 12, I really wanted to attend university even though I knew that my parents could not afford to pay, but I did not give up my goal of joining the university. After that, I decided to find a job in the town in the morning but I did not get any jobs, so I worked on the farm with my parents every day. A year later I applied to be a teacher in ODA Organization and I was really proud of myself to be chosen and receive a salary from my knowledge. However I felt that my English was very poor and so I decided to spend my small part time salary on a short course at an Institute in Siem Reap in the mornings. I had to ride a bicycle 30 kms by 7am, then I would return to work the fields in the afternoons and teach at ODA from 4 to 7, six nights a week.
One of my earlier classes at the ODA school in Run Village.
One day when I was teaching my students, Mr. Leng who is the Founder/Director of ODA, brought a Canadian family to see my class and they decided to sponsor me to go to university. I was so very excited and I told my parents, who were excited, too. I am now the first person in my family who was graduated from university with a Bachelor Degree and thanks to ODA’s University Support Program, I am now almost finished studying my Masters Degree in TESOL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). Becoming a university student, I felt delighted because I thought my dream was coming true. At the university, I was surprised to see a lot of students, but especially lecturers who were so completely full of education and life skills. This made me decide I wanted to become very knowledgeable to help my students like the lecturers were doing, and have worked hard to accomplish that.
One school in Melbourne that we observed were preparing for a trip to Cambodia so we joined them in cooking Khmer food. We were amazed the schools do trips like this, and the teachers prepare so many activities associated with the trips before they depart.
Because we had worked so hard to become good teachers, thanks to a wonderful USA family, I and three of my Masters studying teacher colleagues, were gifted the opportunity to take an Education Study trip to Australia. It was so very hard for us to fill in and receive the visas. It took us many documents and around two months to get the fully completed visa and I had to travel to Phnom Penh twice. Then we waited, and waited and then luckily one week before we were to depart, the visas arrived.
Beaches were so wonderful to see. I explained and showed pics to my students on my return. The waves sounded like music to me and I wanted to sit there seing this sight for ever.
Personally, Australia is the most beautiful country because it is the first place outside of Cambodia where I have been to, so I cannot see other country which is more beautiful than Australia. Staying in Melbourne for a month, everything looked to attractive and I could not see anything that was not good about it. To me, the best thing about Melbourne, Australia were the beaches. It was the first time I I had seen beaches and when I was there I loved seeing and listening to the sound of the waves hitting the rocks and shore. It sounded like music and it made me feel so relaxed. When I was on the beach, I didn’t want to move, I just wanted to sit down and look further all the time. I wish, I could have a beautiful house near the beach so I would see it every day. Melbourne was so expensive compared to my country and all people used cars and dressed nicely. They were very friendly and welcoming. They rarely ate rice but they ate a lot of vegetables, meat, and fruit. Mostly we lived with kind Rotary families, and attended a Rotary Leadership weekend as their guests. It was very cold and very hard, but we learnt how to make team work and leadership decisions which was a wonderful experience for us. We were all very lucky to have had such kind people to help us experience this month long study trip.
Receiving my certificate after completing the Rotary Youth Leadership weekend near Leongatha in country Victoria .
I went to visit four schools in Melbourne and I was able to observe many teachers and classes. My impression at each of the schools were the teaching resources, each were completely full of modern resources and study materials. I think students did not really respect their teachers e.g. the way they behaved to the teachers like sitting, talking, and walking in class and so on, that was very different to Cambodia.
I thought all teachers really cared about their students and wanted their students to be happy and involved. I was so surprised seeing teachers and students working and learning together happily. I learnt a lot of teaching techniques to apply in my classes such as games around the study, student classroom decoration, classroom management, rubbish management, organizing etc. When I came back I helped my students to learn things by doing as I had seen in Melbourne, and I shared with the other teachers in ODA organization what I learnt from schools in Australia.
I have now been made ODA Schools Manager and I continue to help all teachers.
Our Australian host families were very kind. They gave us a farewell party and my host family made me a cake as it was my birthday on that day.
Because of COVID-19 closures I am teaching English online now. I created a group messenger and I added my students. I installed OBS Studio so I can record video lessons and then I send them to my group messenger. I have homework for my students. They have to write their homework into their notebook and then they take photos and send to my personal Facebook messenger so I can check it easily. It is not really hard for me to teach online class but sometimes internet connection is slow. Moreover, when it rains and we have thunderstorms, we cannot work online and all students turn their phones off. Anyway, I can send the lesson and homework so the students can watch it when the sky is clear or not raining.
I have 26 students who have joined my online class. There is nothing hard for my students joining the online class because they are already familiar with Facebook group messenger. I want them to know I help them so they can follow me and achieve a good education too.
Since COVID-19 has spread to Cambodia, all Schools, factories, restaurants, hotels, guest houses as well as the tourist sector are closed, so many local workers had to leave town to stay with their farming family. Now a lot of villagers are struggling with small farms to try to grow enough rice and vegetables to feed all their family. Many people in my village are unemployed, they are waiting to work in town when tourism is open again.
Now I am very proud to be working as a teacher in the ODA organization. In my future I want to also work in a university and open a book shop where I can employ my brothers and sisters to work in it. I am so happy to have been able to be educated and pass this on to the children in my villages so they may have a better life also.