08.03.2007 30 °C
How long can your concentration span in an old dirty classroom on a 30C and 90% humidity day with no fan or AC, listening to a teacher speaking in a language you barely know?
After 'sweating' a day with a few other volunteers at Prey Chrok Primary School about 45 minute from Siam Reap, I realize that weather is the last concern for these students from surrounding villages, opportunities is their priorty. Although a nearby wedding caused the attendance drop somewhat, the remaining 30 or so students in each class still participate eagerly during the one-hour class.
We met outside the SAGE agency in Siam Reap around 6:30am and began the one-hour minivan journey west on a bumpy dirt road. Perhaps I am of asian-origin, by the time we arrived at the school, many eyes were locked on me. I was there to research and take photos for a new website.
Since the English program started around Oct 2006 at Prey Chrok, most students seem to have already known the alphabets well. However, most have a hard time understanding what the teachers want to achieve in the exercises because of the lack of translation.
Perhaps it was a slow day, most other classes were idle with local teachers chatting with each other in the school yard while we taught inside the sauna classroom.
To be honest, after the first three classes and 100 photos, I felt embarassed at my own impatience because of the heat and humidity. The same material began to sound monotonous, like mosquitoes flying in my ear. But every time we walked into a new classroom, enthusiasm of the new students, like caffeine, refueled me.
What in the world can be more satisfying than bringing opportunities to children in the developing countries?