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Thursday 4.08.2011

Thursday 8 – 9 pm (5-12 years)

– I wish for my mother to be healthy and for my parents to be rich.
– I want a cow and a buffalo.
– I want my family to be very happy all everyone and good health fpr my parents.
– I want my family to be happy happy and rich.
– I wish for my family to be happy and healthy.
– I like coconut and pineapple. In the future I want to be a teacher.
– I wish for my parents to be healthy.
– In the future I want to be a teacher and a doctor and I want my parents to be happy and rich.
– I want to be a doctor.
– I like apples. (12x)
– I want to be a teacher.
– I wish for my family to be happy.
– I like snakes.
– I like apples and oranges.
– I like apple and dog.
– I want to be a teacher in the future.
– I like apples and I wish for my family to be healthy.
– In the future I want to be a doctor.
– I wish for my family to be happy and healthy.
– I like butterflies. I wish for my family to be really happy and healthy.
– I want to be a tuktuk driver.
– I want to be a teacher.
– I wish my family to be healthy.
– I like pineapples and coconuts.
– I want to be a doctor.
– I want to be a khmer teacher.
– I want my family to be rich.
– I want to be a teacher.
– I wish for my family to be happy and healthy in the future.
– I like apples and umbrellas.
– I want to be a teacher and I wish for my parents living in Phnom Penh to be healthy.
– I wish for me to be a farmer an mother.

Thursday 9-10 pm (12 – 16 years)

– I want to be a doctor to help other people to be healthy. I want to marry someone I love and to be a good wife.
– I like sports and to wear pink dresses and I like grilled chicken.
– I wish for my parents to be happy and rich.
– I want to be a teacher in the future, to help the children to become good people and to help orphans to be able to study. I want to visit friends and that my parents are happy.
– I like a lot of fruits and cake.
– I like fruits, football, hide & seek, mangoes.
– I like oranges, apples, pork, chicken, duck, khmer food and to play football. I want to travel around the world.
– I wish for me to be a doctor and to earn money for my parents.
– I wish for my parents to be healthy.
– I want my parents to be healthy, lucky and rich. I want my mum to be lucky and strong forever
– In my future I want to be a doctor, because I think it is important to help people. I want to be a good girl.
– I wish for my family to be healthy and rich.
– I like oranges & apples & pork & fish & khmer fruits, blue dress and basketball.
– I like mango, coconut, banana, potato and orange.
– I want to be a doctor in the future to help children.
– I like nice fruits, durian and to go for a walk with my friends, to swim with them and I like to visit friends. Then I want to buy a blue dress and wear it when I am there.
– I like to play football, because it makes me happy.
– I wish for my family to be rich.
– I want to be a doctor to help the children
– I like cooking for my parents. I like drawing. In my future I want to get married and have 2 children.
– I want to be a teacher and doctor and I want to study english. I like to visit friends. I want to live in a western country forever. I want chicken there. I want to visit calin mountain.
– I like pineapple, sports, cooking and wearing a red dress and I like to go for a walk.
– I want to work as a massage lady. When I have a lot of money I want to help the orphans in my village.
– I want to be a teacher and help the children in my village. I like to wear an orange dress.
– I want my parents to be healthy and lucky. I want that also for me.
– I like orange, mango, to exercise with sport, go for a walk and wear a pink dress.
– I wish for my father to be healthy and strong and rich, especially my grandparents as well.
– When I grow up, I want to be a good mother. In my future I want to be a massage lady. I want to marry and have 4 children. I want to be the best in class.
– I want my parents to be rich.
– I like western food and khmer fruits.
– I want to eat more fruits.
– I want my grandmother and parents to be healthy.
– I like to study and to play football.
– I want to be a good teacher and my students to do well. I want to travel around the world. When I marry, I want to have 3 kids.
– I like apple, potato, wear a red and green dress, football and grilled chicken.
– I want to be a doctor and help the orphans and the poor people in my village. I want to go to western countrys.
– I want to help children and I want to be a good child. I like all fruits.
– I wish for my parents to be rich and lucky.
– I like pink and I wish good luck to my parents. I don’t want to be sick.
– I wish for my parents to be healthy and in the future I want them to work just a little.
– I like to do work. I like fresh fruits, yellow, apples and khmer fruits.
– I wish for my parents to be rich and lucky and I love my parents every year, every time.
– I want to be a carpenter and I want a chicken, a pig and a cow. I want to find money to help my family.
– I wish for my parents to be healthy and I want to be a doctor and a teacher.
– I want to be married and I would like to have a lot of children.
– I like orange juice, banana and I want to dress in white.
– I like to eat khmer food and I want to visit Phnom Penh.
– I want to be a doctor and in the future I want to earn a lot of money.
– I want a lot of oranges. I want to play football and I want to be a teacher in the future.
– I want to be a teacher and I want to visit countries around the world and have a lot of students. When I am married I want to have 4 children.
– I like orange and mango. I like the colours orange and pink and I like cooking. I want to visit Angkor Wat.
– I want to eat pizza. I like apples, watermelons, and fried chicken. I want do dress in green. I want to visit countries around the world and I want to visit Phnom Penh.
– I want to be a doctor and a want to visit Baray and western countries.
– I wish for me to have a happy time, good aid at learning and a smart study.
– I wish for my parents to be healthy and happy.
– I like apples and eating khmer food and I want to play football. I want to be a teacher and doctor.
– I want to be a farmer and have a lot of money, become a strong person and have a good job.
– I want to study a lot.
– I want to be a doctor in the future, because I want to help the people when they are sick and I want to be rich. And I want a hospital in my village.
– I wish for my parents to be really happy and to be rich.
– I want a big cake and a car and a happy time.

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Tuesday 2.08.2011

Tuesday, 2pm – 3 pm (5 – 12 years old)

I wish for:

-a house
-flowers
-fish
-a house
-an elephant and a horse
-an elephant and a horse
-a butterfly and flowers
-a cow and a monkey
-pencils
-cars
-flowers
-apples
-tables
-a butterfly
-a butterfly
-flowers and good health for my father and mother
-apples
-flowers
-having the chance to paint
-apples
-a rubber and a necklace and a bracelet and a anklet
-umbrellas
-apples
-flowers, a car, a cow and a horse
-apples

Tuesday, 3pm-4pm (12-16 years old)

I wish for:

-a bicycle to go to school.
-a bicycle to go to study and for my livingsituation to be good.
-my parents to love me and for my father to be healthy.
-my parents to be healthy forever.
-a bicycle.
-a car.
-a plane.
-a car.
-a plane.
-a car.
-books, pencils, and for my parents to be healthy every day.
-motorbike and bicycle to go to study and for my family to be healthy.Mehr anzeigen
-a bicycle and for my family to be healthy.
-my parents to be healthy and love me very much.
-a motorbike.
-my parents to love me and for my father to be healthy.
-books and a bicycle.
-a motorbike.
-my parents to be healthy.
-my parents to be healthy.
-books for my studies.
-books and pens for my studies.
-a bicycle to go to school.
-a bicycle to go to my studies.
-my parents to be healthy.
-my mother to be healthy.
-me to be a teacher.
-a bicycle to go to study.
-my parents to like me and my father to be healthy.
-my parents to be healthy forever.
-books to go to study.
-books to go to study and for my parents to be healthy.
-my parents to love me very much and books.
-my parents to be healthy forever.
-a bicycle to go to study.

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Arrival

I hadn’t slept properly the night before I was supposed to fly out. Almost walking with my eyes closed I found a seat in the train next to a chinese man that smelled of alcohol. Hello Asia, I am just about to leave. Children were running around my backpack and jumping over it. I fell asleep.
When I woke up, I saw that the train had already arrived, so i grabed my bag and shook my body to give it a small wake-up-call. Running to the next platform a bunch of thoughts crossed my mind, that made me walk and stare at people around me. When home becomes foreign and you start staring, you know, that it is time to leave. You know, that a different place is calling you. An old man bumped into me, mumbled something unnecessary and looked angrily at me. Goodbye Germany, i will send you some postcards.
Arriving at the airport i was breathing in deeply. The mixture of precipitance, excitement and sweat reminded me of other nights i had spend in these places of departure to new lifes and hopes. Sleepy chidren were crawled up on their parents laps and stewardess were running on highheels to catch their flight. I am wondering how these beautiful ladies will be able save us in case of an accident, when their dresses are too tight to even walk properly and their shoes are high enough to give them a hight of 1,80 m.

My first plane departed and I managed to fall sleep while a bollywood princess seduced her prince on the screen next to mine. Passengers seem to become a uniformed army, that is performing the same moves and listens to the voice in their speakers telling them their next task they need to fulfill.
My screen told me, that we just passed Baghdad. An old man took out a tissue, a small, round stone and a small book. After looking at our planes coordinates on the screen he turned the tissue and started mumbling. He lifted his arms and bowed down. He was praying. Good night, Allah.

After 30 hours of travelling I arrived in Singapore. Coming out of the MRT I smelled Asia. I took a moment to sit down and become aware of me arriving. I asked an old man for directions who offered to walk me half way to my hostel. Singapore was empty, just some cars crossed the junction and were beating the horn at each other. The malay man invited me to come home for dinner with him- at 11.30 pm. I refused and said my goodbyes. Arriving at the hostel, I fell into my bed and was more then ready to sleep. Two korean girls were giggling at their pink phones and another girl entered the room in leather boots and a short jeansskirt. A deep sleep took my smiling thoughts away.

Flying out from Singapore to Siem Reap, we almost missed the last call before the gate closed. A chubby singaporean securitylady grinned at the queue and joked us through the scanning. 10 Minutes till departure. Sitting in Jetstars cold leather seats I wished for a comfortable bed. And hot chocolate. Everything could be so easy.
The next thing I remember, is the captains announcement for our arrival in Siem Reap. I took a look out of the window and I saw, that the landscape had changed since the last time I flew into Cambodia. The colours were different and there seemed to be less trees then last time. But when we came closer, I realised, that it was not nature itself that had changed, but massive floodings that were covering it with brown water. We looked at each other. Let’s just pretend we have not seen it. Everything will be fine.
Siem Reaps airport is one small, almost traditional building, that could probaly not handle more than the passengers of one flight.
Filling out the visaforms we realized that we had forgot to bring any pens with us which made us the last people to queue up for payment and the visaapproval. Twelve officials were sitting in a row to check, stamp and copy each passport. The small Khmer men carefully adn sceptically gave the passports to each other and called our names to pick them up at the end of the row.
Nothing to declare. And there were Sarah, Den, Rachel, So and Sa to welcome us. We arrived.

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Conception Giving Life a Name, December 2010

Conception of the Project
„Giving Life a Name“

In July 2010 I went to Cambodia to travel the country. All the stories about the Cambodian people, the red soil, that is supposed to give the streets the gleam of the setting sun, the dangers and wounds, that are left from the war, even today, had created the wish inside myself to discover this country.
After I had been in Siem Reap for a couple of days, a town in the northwest of the country, that is considered one of the pourest regions in Cambodia. Despite the increase of tourism through the Temples of Ankor there hasn’t been any improvement in the circumstances of life for most of Siem Reaps’ population. Walking through the streets of this busy town, there is a permanent alternation between absolute prosperity and absolute poverty. There is Tuk-Tuk-drivers who desperately try to get some customers, to bring them to their desired destination, while a Lexus drives by, hiding a person behind the darkened window glass, so you won’t be able to recognise him. The extremes of surviving and living are drawing the picture of this city.
Through a lot of different coincidences I ended up teaching English in a slum of Siem Reap at an „one-man-NGO“. We repaired the roof of the hut, that was built on a wall surrounding the 5-star-hotel next door. Rainy season was coming up.
The kids were sleeping together with Mak Sareth, who was the leader and the only member of this organisation, in the room that I was teaching in the next morning. The toilet was only seperated from the classroom through a manhigh wall, because there was no money to build a higher one. All the money that appeared was first used to fill their hungry stomachs.

Because I haven’t expected to be teaching English while travelling in Cambodia, I had to create a new conception for my classes, that has always been limited by my budget. There was material missing like pens and paper and morningfloods in the classroom were quite common, because there was no brick and stones to higher the wall to protect the hut from being flooded.
Together with Mak Sareth I openened a bankaccount, so his organisation could receive donations, I developed a plan for my englishteachings and I started getting in contact with different organisations in Siem Reap, that could inform him about functioning conceptions with similar aims to his ideas.

The kids were flourishing as soon as I brought some pieces of paper and pens and they were creating the most beautiful phantasies. I stayed for about one month.
But within this time it became more and more evident, that Mak Sareth himself needed a lot of help; He had to escape to Thailand when Phnom Penh was captured by the Khmer Roug. There he opened an organisation for refugees, that mostly took care of disabled people.
During the civil war he once came back to see his parents. But when he arrived he was told, that they had been executed publicly on stage by the Khmer Rouge, because they had been considered „intellectual people“.
He went back to Thailand and finally came back to Cambodia as an UNTAC-soldier, „to help my country to get back to peace“, as he described it.
It was obvious to me, that his dedication to his work was sourced in his experience within the civil war, in his deep fear inside himelf.
„Somebody has to take care of these children. When they start growing up and they’ll see who really is resposible for their circumstances of life, they will take a gun and start shooting. We need to protect ourselves from a new war“.

It became clear, that Mak Sareth had been so desperate, that he hadn’t told me about the real prices for several products, his familysituation as well as the origin of some children to get money for his own survival. He was in the exact same situation as the orphans that he took care of.
Cambodia is known for its corruption and the disparity of the rich and the poor as a result of it.
But corruption can either evolve from greed or it can be sourced in despair.

In Siem Reap I got to know a woman, that is now plannig on opening a school with her cambodian boyfriend, and to found a NGO. Within the time that I spent in Siem Reap struggeling in despair and the organisation of my work that I took over, ending up in helplessness, we became really good friends. When she told me about the school and the application for the NGO, I started having a clear idea of a project that had been in my head for quite a while; in this wonderful country, where life is dealing way too much with surviving than with living, the focus shouldn’t just be put on teaching English to increase the chances for the job market. New worlds should be opened up, worlds of art and philosophy, that are able to show the special side in each one of us.
Against the hard reality, that often is just the fight for survival, it is possible to create a world in our hearts and heads, that can be the source of new security.

I am planning on doing my project within July and October 2011.
The children are in school five days a week, so I could approximately work on the project around two hours a day or five hours at two days a week. It is important to recognise, that a lot of the Cambodian children are having a full timetable every day; in the morning they could come to the school of the NGO, in the afternoon they are going to the public schools, that are considered the only proof for education at the job market. To be allowed to go to a higher grade in school, each one needs to pass a test, that would cost around 50 Dollars (the avarage wage of the families i knew was around 30 Dollars per month). In addition to that each child needs to help its parents at home as well as with their work.
So in the end there is just a reduced number of hours left per day, where I could do the project. But the long time of three months makes it possible to still make this project happen.
My ideas are sourced in my past experience with the children and their love for creativity as well as in other projects around the world, that I have heard from within the last time:

– A photoproject in Cambodia working in exchange with an school in Belgium. Presenting questions asked about their home, their family, their favourite food in pictures they took in the school in Belgium as well as in the school in Cambodia. Afterwards the pictures were exchanged and compared and in the end they had a conference via „Skype“ with all the children taking part in the project. (Project by Hanne Lewyllie)

– An artproject in a school in Belgium, working with clay. Each child is shaping the most important thing in their life into clay. On the playground they have built something like a totem pole to brick the things that the children shaped into it. This „tree of importances“ was now created as a place that the children could always come to, where they could talk about their secrets and wishes, that they can’t tell to anybody else. To have something, that is there for them, when they are not doing well, when they are sad or they are feeling lonely.
From time to time you can see children during the break or after school sitting next to the totem talking to him.

My project is called „Giving Life a Name“. Within the first weeks I want to find out with the children, what is important in their own lifes. For explample their family, their friends, playing around, working, dreaming. It is not important what the answers are like, it is just important to discover their true thoughts.
Every answer will be collected and be presented to the children at the end of the week.
Then I will try to develop ideas together with the children how to create something together, that still has got a big importance for each one of them.
I will tell them about different artprojects around the world that children have made to maybe make them have new ideas about it.
In my head there is a lot of different ideas that embody different aims: the priority of this project is finding out about the importances of each child, to fulfill the task of teaching the children how to see themselves as an individual with their own wishes and imaginations. This is achievable through the production of something that they can always carry around with them, that reminds them of themselves.
On the other hand I want the children to create something as a group together, that they can look back to and that in the best case they could keep on developing when i am not there anymore.
I am thinking about something like a row of bench that we could design and paint on, or a treehouse that we have built together and that could be a place of security for them, or a big painting at the wall of the school that will always be modifiable.
In each one of these projects I want to create a connection to their country, because Cambodias’ national pride is always part of daily life in there. The red soil of Cambodia, that i was talking about at the beginning of this text, could be a tool for our work with this topic. Working with clay (which is possible with each one of these ideas) could work with this soil to make Cambodia a part of the importances we are working with.

I am convinced that the time frame as well as the praticability of this project is realistic. After having made my experience with working in Cambodia, especially in the region of Siem Reap, I am convinced that I can value whether it is possible to do such a project or not.
Through my friendship with the woman founding this NGO I am sure to have found a place that I can work in without the fear of corruption and exploitation. Having the connection to different people, that can both speak Khmer and English makes it possible to get in contact with the children, that will probably just speak little or no English.
In my opinion this project is of big importance in a country like Cambodia, a country where the extremes in society are threatening peoples’ lifes.
There is a big need to have a new place created to give wishes the freedom they need to flourish and to become manifested in the lifes of each one of us.
By giving our own life a name, we also give us a position in this world, that allows us to be ourselves and to be free.

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