For the first and maybe last time in my life, I celebrated Chinese New Year! We had a big feast in the community with different Chinese dishes. Sister Justina, Sister Rosalia, Sister Lakana, and Sophia, who are all part Chinese, performed a few dances. We also watched an interesting video about 2018 being the year of the dog. Woof. Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh1k-mRWIDs
Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday happened to fall on the same day this year!! Yay! The night before, Lena, Bella, Sophia, and I watched the movie Valentine’s Day and ate a bunch of sweets. The next day, I taught my students about St. Valentine and the history of Valentine’s Day. Also, I taught them fun Valentine’s vocabulary and sayings so they could make Valentine’s cards for their friends, teachers, and the Sisters. My students were very sweet and gave me cards, decorated pens, and home-made paper flowers!
Last weekend, Bella, Lena and I went to Mondulkiri Province in Cambodia to visit an Elephant Sanctuary! We decided a while ago that we would all like to see elephants during our time in Cambodia, but that we did not want to go to a place that treats the elephants badly. Thankfully, we found an NGO created by a Khmer man named Mr. Tree. Since 2013, Mr. Tree has bought six elephants that were treated badly by their previous owners and brought them to the jungle in Mondulkiri. The elephants are free to roam the jungle owned by the Mondulkiri Project. Tourists are able to see the elephants by feeding them bananas and swimming with them. If at any point the elephant wants to leave, it is free to do so, and we might not see it again that day. Mr. Tree does not allow anyone to ride on an elephant because it is not good for the elephant’s back. We were able to see five of the six elephants – Happy, Lucky, Princess, Sophie, and Comvine. Also, we were able to see some waterfalls in Mondulkiri!
On January 31st, the community celebrated the Feast Day of St. John Bosco, the founder of the Salesians of Don Bosco (the Salesian priests and brothers) and the Institute of Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (the Salesian Sisters)! We had a big parade and ceremony in the morning to celebrate! Also in the morning, the high school students performed songs they wrote about Saint John Bosco. In the afternoon, I went with my students to the school of the Salesian brothers and priests where eight of my students competed in a volleyball tournament. All the FTHS students, Sisters, and teachers cheered a lot for our team, and our team got second place! Lena, Bella, and I got ice cream after the tournament. At night, the Sisters and volunteers celebrated with PIZZA and a games competition. My team, Team Voldolcco, won the games competition!
Team Voldolcco picture from left to right: Sr. Sarin, Sr. Justina, me, Sr. Ched, and Sr. Van
Every four months, the parents or guardians of my students are required to come to Don Bosco School to talk about the academic progress of their girl with the FTHS Sisters and teachers The girls performed a song and a dance for them and demonstrated their skills by preparing snacks. They also displayed their creative projects which they made in Entrepreneurship class.
My students organized a Khmer Fashion Show to display the different types of Khmer traditional dresses to a group of volunteers from South Korea who came to Don Bosco School for a few days.
From left to right in the first picture: Vanna, SreyNich, Dalis, Sokhorn, Laihorn, SreyPich, Soly, ChanRoeun, SreyLin, SreyMao, Chanda, and SreyDen
On Monday, January 22nd, we celebrated the feast day of Bl. Laura Vicuna, a holy young girl who is beloved by the Salesians. The first-year and second-year FTHS students each nominated two girls from their year whom they thought exemplified the characteristics of Laura Vicuna: patience, courage, gentleness, and goodness. The first-year students nominated ChanRoeun and SeangHai, and the second-year students nominated Dalin and Tharinta. These four girls then randomly chose two questions out of a jar and had three minutes to answer the questions to the best of their abilities. Sister Teresa, Sister Sopheak, and Teacher Sotee judged the girls based on their responses.
Three examples of the questions are:
(1) What words and photos should you post on Facebook, and what words and photos should you not post on Facebook? Why?
(2) What characteristics would you like your future husband to have. Why?
(3) If you are employed at a hotel and found $30 under the coffee table when you were cleaning a room, what would you do?
All of the girls gave wonderful responses in the time allotted to them. I was very proud of their honest and thoughtful answers. In the end, the judges announced that Dalin was Miss Laura for 2018! Dalin was so surprised that she started to cry a little! Dalin is quite a shy girl and sometimes overlooked, but she is one of my very best students. I was very happy that she was crowned Miss Laura for 2018!
Later that night, the Sisters and volunteers celebrated the Feast Day of Bl. Laura Vicuna. Volunteers Lena, Bella, Sophia, and I performed a dance for the Sisters to a song called “Laura’s Prayer.” No matter how many times we practiced, I never was able to hold the fan properly during the whole dance. The Sisters loved our performance, though!