It has been a fun and exciting three months since our last report, so Pam and I would like to provide a short update to the happenings at the Spitler School in Cambodia.
The children were out of school for three weeks during April for the Khmer New Year, which is one of Cambodia’s largest and longest holidays. It is a time when city dwellers travel back to their villages to be with family, and Sarin was able to take Mary and Vita to visit with his mother.
In my last report back in March I mentioned that there was a teacher in California, Lisa Schwartz, whose mother had visited the school, and Lisa offered to get her students involved in providing some help for the school. After a coin drive by the students we were overwhelmed when Lisa reported that the children from Ladera Elementary School had raised $1000. We decided to use their donation to purchase new English workbooks, new desks for our first and second grade classes, and a new slide for the playground.
As of my last report in March we were trying to decide about new construction of classrooms and exploring the possibility of needing to replace our original wood and thatch classrooms with a larger, traditional style school building, which would have cost in excess of $20,000 to construct. The more we thought about it the more we decided we would like to keep the character of the school as it is. Besides the larger building would involve more government bureaucracy and would take much longer. However, the original wood and thatch buildings deteriorate rapidly during the severe rainy season, and we hated to keep investing money into short-term repairs. In the end we decided to keep the buildings the same size, but rebuild them using steel frames, brick half walls, and corrugated roofs, following the methods used in the classroom that was built by the students from Singapore.
Once we made the decision Sarin wasted no time in getting started. At the end of April he had arranged to have the old original classroom taken down, and he quickly had the steel going up for the framework. A week later the brick half-walls and the corrugated roof were already in place.
The walls received a coat of plaster and tiles were installed for the floor. Steel grill work was placed above the half walls so that air can circulate through the building during the oppressive spring time heat, and there is even a sidewalk surrounding the building. By the end of May the classroom was complete and students were helping to clean up the construction site and move into their new classroom. The walls are painted in a color that Sarin tells us is considered a “lucky” Khmer color.
This building is the first of the three original buildings that will be reconstructed. The second two will be done in July when school closes for the summer vacation. Sarin is able to accomplish the reconstruction for less than $4000 for each building, which we believe is a great investment in the lives of 260 young students who are eager to learn.
For additional new photos of all the happenings at the Spitler School you can go to our 2007 album located at: http://dannypam.smugmug.com/gallery/2604770/2 The newest photos begin on Page 2.
For a look at all of the school albums you can click on the following link: http://www.dannypam.smugmug.com/Spitler School Project – Cambodia
Sarin, Pam and I, and all the children of Ang Chagn Chass send special thanks to the following people who have made donations to the Spitler School Foundation during the past six months. We wish you all a very happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend.
Larry and Pat Curd
Lindsey and Kyle Spitler
Lou and Claudine Hopper
Les and Shirley Hoffman
Bob and Betty Rosa
The Children of Ladera Elementary School
Spitler School Foundation
P.O. Box 730
Peoria, AZ 85380
501c3 – Non-Profit Charitable Foundation