Due to the floodings there was no possibility to go to school during the last week. We were supposed to draw the trunk of the “Tree of wishes” on the weekend(the kids would use their handprints as leaves and then create their individual handprint the way they want using white wallpaint), but there was no way we could have gotten to the village, because the roads were all under water. We heard from different sides that the wooden houses (normally standing on pillars) looked like islands in the water. Even on our normal schooldays the road to school would scare us with its deep muddy holes, that sometimes required us to get out of the Tuktuk and walk some part of the way. So now we decided we would not take the risk to go at the moment.
While staying in town and watching the vehikels transform into waterresistent boatlike machines (some motos now had a tube in their exhaust so it would be possible to go through the very deep parts, where the water would almost drown the whole moto), we started figuring out a new plan to finish the project in a way that would still support the funding idea of it and make it possible for us to leave something behind still, even though the last lessons leading to the “celebration” were now cancelled.
During the two months in Siem Reap we realized that a project like “Giving Life A Name” required more preparing towards training the teachers that are working with us, as they are the main bridge to the children when they translate our ideas to them. It is not enough to just have the words translated that we are telling them, but it is necessary to train them in the basic ideas of the philsosophy of arts, its purposes and benefits and especially concerning this project in the understanding of the importance that we see in the project and the reasons for doing it.
After we leave Siem Reap our project will be the starting point for a new artclass in school, that will take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. They will be tought by the Trainee-teachers who helped us translating during our classes. As this idea of a regular artclass is very new for “First Steps School” we were thinking about a way to support the development of these classes. We now decided that I, Eva, will come back in Febuary to have a workshop with the Art-teachers for about two weeks to train them in basic artskills like drawing, painting and the use of nature materials and to also support teambuilding qualities that will help them to work together and create new ideas for the coming semester and to increase their abilities as art-teachers. Since this workshop will take place about 5 months after the project there will be space during the workshop to talk about the problems that came up during the first 5 months of teaching arts and the ideas that they developed. The workshop is supposed to be a training for the teachers to improve their artskills and their work on “First Steps School”.
For us it has become obvious that it is more necessary to have trainings for the artteachers then doing a project with the children ourselves, because it will guarantee that the idea behind it will become sustainable and be integrated in the life at school and even in the village after we left.
Right now using our time that is left to plan the workshop in Febuary focussing on teaching artskills, the reflection on the past 5 months and new ideas for a future lessonplan. We think that it will be possible to do a two week workshop about twice a year. It will take place in a space seperated from school so it will be guaranteed to be a seperated training to improve your personal skills and ideas away from school. I want to work with the teachers in a group of four, so we can have discussions about problems, wishes and ideas and create new plans for the future together.
The project “Giving Life A Name” has been a wonderful experience for us. We learned how much creativity the children and the teachers have and how much everybody enjoyed expressing themselves. It is good to know, that the project is the start for a continuing artclass at “First Steps School” and we are very thankful to be given the possibility for an arts and philosophy project by “Stepping Stones Cambodia”. We want to keep on supporting this idea by our workshops that we will individually prepare for the teachers and keep in touch with “Stepping Stones Cambodia” to create a new connection between the “University of Hildesheim” and “First Steps School” to combine the ideas of our students with the ones of the teachers in Kok Thnot. Arts is a language that is understood even without words and that communicates our deeper thoughts, because it expresses the source for our ideas that is found inside of us. We hope to have given an insight of what arts can be like and to have opened up new ways of expression. We are exited to see how the artclasses wil develop till Febuary and we will keep exchanging ideas till then. This project is now the source for something new that is about to grow and raise. It is good to have this knowledge to be ready to leave.

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