Saturday, July 09, 2011

Flooding at Emmanuel School

We are in the rainy season in Cambodia.  The day normally starts bright and sunny.  By mid-afternoon,   however, clouds start to gather.  By late afternoon, heavy rains start, which last for an hour or more.  Flooding is very common in Phnom Penh.  On Wednesday morning, the school was flooded. 

The school used to be a big leather factory.  It is essentially a cavernous hall bordered by 4 classrooms, slightly elevated from the crumpling cement floor.   Since there are 6 classes from primary 1 to 6, Two have to meet in the hall, set off by a simple partition.

In the morning, the hall and 2 of the classrooms were flooded. So the 6 classes squeezed into 2 classrooms.  I am proud of our students for continuing the teaching despite having to wade through several inches of dirty water.

By the time I got there in the afternoon, the water has receded quite a bit, but there were still much standing water in the hall.  And we had to get to some of the classrooms by stepping on strategically places stones.  

Upon closer inspection, some of the stones turned out to be coconut shells.  I have never heard of stepping coconuts.

There were two main reasons why the flooding was so bad.  Firstly, for an insane reason, the floor of the old factory was set lower than the road outside.  Secondly, there were several gapping holes in the roof.   So we made a couple of suggestions to the school: fix the holes in the roof, and to install a water pump.

The flooding actually made the service that much more memorable. 

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