Another change - and this was really unexpected, so early in the year - was the sudden onset of torrential rain. This began almost immediately after the Royal Ploughing Ceremony, so there was clearly a connection - but the roads both here and in Phnom Penh were no better prepared than last year for the downpour, and flooded almost immediately. As it happens we haven't been too hard hit yet in Siem Reap, but we know that if we get much more rain, and if it is sustained for a day or two, then it will be very difficult to get into Spitler School. Last year during the rainy season a sandbag bridge was built, with funding from the Foundation and help from the villagers and school staff, and this bridge is still there. But we wonder whether it will survive another rainy season.
The biggest upset to our daily routine was caused by yet another change to the tranquility of life here: the start of the Commune Election season. We set out on our bikes on Saturday morning for Kurata School, only to find our way blocked for some considerable time by a convoy of Cambodian People's Party supporters heading for a rally in town. The CPP is the party of the ruling government, headed by Prime Minister Hun Sen, and it is expected that his party will receive a resounding majority at the polls.
|Turn off for Kurata School|
|The long, straight road|
|Vebol fixes the footballs|
The final 'happening' of this particular day was the English lesson for the Kindergaten children. We haven't tried rolling the programme out to the youngest children before, but the two lessons a week they they are now getting from Ratha are proving a great experience. The children are exceptionally shy and Ratha is still feeling his way with how to work with this age group. However, he has the support of their lively young class teacher - Thierry - so the children are beginning to respond to this strange experience. We joined in this week and began to teach them the song Five Little Speckled Frogs. We're not entirely sure they understood all of the words or ideas (though frog is an important part of the rural diet), but they seemed to enjoy jumping off the 'log' into the 'pond' we had created out of coloured paper - and occasionally shouting 'YUM-YUM' and 'GLUG-GLUG' when they had built up a bit of confidence.
|Five rather uncertain frogs: glug-glug.|