Dated on 25 January 2000, Phnom Penh
/New year on the mountaintop/
All through the New Year's eve and the New Year's day, a charity event was held on the top of mountain Bokor, in Kampot province which was mainly arranged by the local staffs of ASAC. Both new and former provincial governors, district-chiefs and people who have been split into two factions met together amicably, then celebrated restoration of a temple on the mountaintop, at the same time they offered requiem to the people who were sacrificed during the war and prayed for peace and development. The wind blew harder and harder, 2000 piece of candle scarcely warmed up the frozen people, 21 priests who were chilled to the bone kept reading sutras while the old year out. At any rate, young and old looked very happily enjoining all night dance and fireworks.
/Supreme bliss in the darkness/
The foot of an owl calls Death. Some Cambodian who believe this saying hesitate to work in the night. I was excessively to observe literacy classroom in the evil spirits residing darkness. I thought I must make sure by myself whether students really come to
the class in spite of horrible dark night or not. The political situation of this country was gradually getting steady. On January 6th, I decided to go! On the dark national road, the students coming back from school on bicycles by twos and threes were in my sight, but at the branch road leads to my observation target, Wat Ang primary school, only a few traffic on the road could be seen. However, around this school, 3km apart from national road, a large number of people crowded. Young and old, even children were all carrying soil in straw mats to assist ground preparation of the school site.
The harvest season was over. Since new year started, every day from seven to nine o'clock at night, all villages were mobilized for his work, and packed to overflowing with enthusiastic students, and was surrounded by watching villagers and peeping children in the festive mood. Under these environments I could spent a time of supreme bliss. Schools are going to graduate in this way. I grasped real joyful feeling and impression.
/ Premier Obuchi gave yell to Grass Root activity /
From January 10th, the Premier Obuchi made a tour of Asian countries. A meeting with Japanese residents was held. Since the ex- Premier Kishi visited Cambodia, the Japanese Premier came here after an interval of 43
years. He had visited Cambodia twice in the past, at first in 1965, those good old days, second time in 1991, when Japan had no embassy here and PKO had not effected yet. So this time was his third visit. In the meeting, he spoke about impressive change of this country each time he witnessed, and in the speech he highly appreciated Grass Root activity. It was a pleasant to my ear. Although our action is recognized, what we eagerly desire is practically effective aid which is based on NPO and real understanding to NGO. I also met ex-Ambassador Imagawa who has on active duty when I started action, and through the conversation. I could have actual feeling that I have cleared all of the early days problems such as KR, registration, and office establishment etc.
/Thanks to Abashiri Minamigaoka high school students/
School teacher Mr. Asano visited Cambodia with a big box full of picture books. Their English translation sent by e-mail was already translated into Khmer language. In the poorly lighted meeting room, Mr. Asano as the core, patch-work was proceeded by Seira, a dependent Minamoto-kun and Kayo-san, in this way 16 kinds new picture book, each kind contained more than 10 copies, were born. Not only we could fulfill the demand of KOMATSU-Pray Tom library, but also could prepared to supply another sources. I must to say many thanks to the people who joined translation and supported book collection work. The library so far received a total of more than 26,000 visitors. Translation work is not so easy, but this country badly needs book, we hope our work will be a driving power for the construction of the second and third library.
/Assistance for Grass Root project was granted/
We are going to be supported by Grant assistance for a Grass Root project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The construction of 5 schools, 41 class rooms are to be available. Although administration expense was not approved at all, it is a good news to the villagers who are eagerly looking forward to school construction.
This year, we have to undergo audit. The auditor is -PricewaterhouseCoopers-, the top auditing corporation of the World-Big-Five.
Inexperienced matter will happen anywhere, anytime in this country. On the other hand, blueprints of new school are going to be drew up one by one, and the connection with government office are getting stronger slightly. I think the situation is somewhat improving.
Pol Pot group is going to tired, but Cambodia still keeps calm now.
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