Dated on April 3, 1999, Phnom Penh

/ In the height of summer /

The dry season is drawing to an end. We are spending time under clear sky day after day. The thermometer indicates 30-degree indoor, 34-degree in the shade and 40-degree in the sunny place, temperature still keeps clime to some more extent.
So many school-opening ceremonies were held in a year, we are justly proud of this achievement. The ceremony went on under awfully sweaty conditions, my makeup was coming off in a moment. With the feeling of pleasant tension and being surrounded by smiling faces of the attendance, a taste of beer was extra delicious. Japanese sake and dried sardine were constantly presented for every banquet. Thanks for this precious gift!

/ Story behind opening ceremony /

Since opening ceremony of Kirichong Koh primary school on March 2nd. up to that of Wat Ang primary school on April 3rd., we accepted forty-five visitors in all and our office which was usually inactive started to hum accordingly. This is very hard to fix the date of opening ceremony firmly, In case of Kirichong Koh primary school, only four days before the scheduled date, they sounded me out about postponement, because they forgot that February only consists twenty-eight days, so unable manage things in time. Wat Ang primary
School asked me change of the date too. They said a large-scale celebration for the new government, sponsored by King, was suddenly set, therefore the expected guest of honor for ceremony possibly could not follow the schedule.
This asking was Presented ten days before the date of ceremony. Each time Mariko-san ran about for re-arrangement. It's a same old thing in this country.
Both Kirichong Koh and Wat Ang celebrated the eve of opening. The members of Second Hand and Ajinomoto labor union together with villagers enjoyed dinner and dance. The entire visitor became expert of Cambodian festival dance and spent a delightful time under heart-warming surroundings.
The visitors including Mr. Fukayama and his parents who look younger than their age, Mr. Kojima the executive director of Mitsubishi Corporation and it's office managers in Singapore, Thailand were seemed to have great interest about present situation of this isolated village far from capital city.

/ Encouraged by villagers /

The fourth literacy class completed lessons before the coming of the Cambodian New Year. (From April 13th. onward) Through the repetition of lesson, teachers step by step deepened their Self confidence and understanding. In the meanwhile, they as a group, voluntarily took part in village road repairing, and sometimes helped a poor widow with rice harvest. Their various group behaviors were reported, in which they learned a cooperative spirit and brought up confidence to contribute to their own society.
At the time of opening ceremony, students smelled very bad, but five months later, they mastered the way how to clean up themselves and get dressed neatly.
A young volunteer Mr. Sakakibara took many photos of those refreshed students with the triumphant smile. Here is another young man Mr. Saito whose mother is my friend and has been sent to the office to help Mariko-san during the spring vacation. He handled a lot of miscellaneous works about opening ceremony and translation work. I recognized that two young men's looks are becoming more grown up steadily during the stay. They took turns at helping office work, so Mariko-san appreciated them very much.

/ Visitors of Komatsu library excess six thousand /

Once the opening time of library is declared children run up to the entrance giving a shout of joy, and hesitantly open palms of their both hands. Some of the children are picked at dirty hands and rush to wash out. A tiny stone grasped in the palm is used for counting number of visitor. In February and March, a total of more than six thousand visitors were counted. We can understand that a lot of people are really faced with the serious cultural hunger.
We are now planning expansion of library, it is also expected to provide the place of continuous literacy lesson for the students who were once educated before.

/ New government started /

Since election of last year in July, eight months have passed already. The members of Senate and provincial governors were appointed at last, then the new government started. Due to this delay, not only our opening ceremony but also various operation programs got Stuck and troubled us. We should take rather long time to get acquainted with the member of local self-governing body. We must start again from the very beginning. It makes us feel depression, but this is also a part of our business. After appointment of provincial governor finished, those of district- head, chief of administrative office, and. chief of commune shall be done one after another. It will take a certain time to finalize all of them.
The government fundamentally belongs to the people. In these days, the meaning and. importance of election has been gradually understood among the public.
The commune-level election is to be carried out this year. In order to achieve it successfully, every politician is requested to have deep recognition that politics must serve the people.

/ Hearty thanks to you all! /

We are all overwhelmed and delighted at the rush of school opening ceremonies.
We owe this brilliant success to the donation from enterprises and the people who supported our activity. This time, the chief of Mitsubishi Phnom Penh office, Mr. Shinohara especially cooperated us to manage troublesome preparation of ceremony and shared in difficulty with us from beginning to end.
NGO never exist without supporters. We would like to express hearty thanks to you all!