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
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
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
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
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!