Amazon Smile!

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Amazon is one of the most widely used websites in the world. We were pleased to hear that, effective October 2013, customers can now elect to donate 0.5% of their purchase to the charity of their choice. This is all made possible by shopping on smile.amazon.com.

If you already shop on Amazon, or if you’re looking for the perfect gift for a loved one, we invite you to shop at smile.amazon.com and choose The Spring of Hope School as your charity of choice. Below you can read about how to use Amazon Smile.

 

How Does it Work?

1. Visit smile.amazon.com.

The entire shopping experience is the same and most products available on amazon.com are available at Amazon Smile.

2. Sign in and Choose The Spring School of Hope

The screen will look slightly different depending on whether your not you’re already signed into Amazon. If you’re already signed in, you’ll see a screen like the one below. Simply search for “The Spring School of Hope” or the charity of your choice and proceed to step 3.

If you’re not signed, enter your email and password. Then proceed to step 3.

If you’re not signed, enter your email and password. Then proceed to step 3.

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3. Select “The Spring School of Hope”

After signing in, search for “The Spring of Hope School” or the charity of your choice.

Smiles carved into their faces

17th July 2013

 by Natalia Lassalle

to read more about the experiences of Natalia, Lola, and Kalei CLICK HERE

Smiles are the reflex response in this country. No doubt about it. There is a smile for everything. A smile for hello, a smile for goodbye, a smile for shyness, a smile for sadness, a smilefor understanding. Perhaps all these yearsof injustice have erased any notion of hate in their genetic composition, replacing it with the purest love one can find. It's possible that these smiles have been carved into their faces. They are the most genuine gesture they can give.

The love Cambodians feel is too much to contain in words. They touch, embrace, and smile their guts out. Azimah, one of the Elementary English students, repeats the same phrase over and over again: I love you big big! Thank you to you, and your country, and your mother, and your family. You are my sister".  Others repeat "How are you? See you tomorrow! Hello!" What is fascinating to me is what all of these wordsthey  can pronounce in English contain. I think ofall the beautiful things she can express in Khmer and all the beautiful words she could express in English if she knew them. This motivates me to surround myself with everyone, to just look at them and point and tell them "This is tree, this is floor, this is flower", because I want them to be able to articulate this love in this new tongue. 

Cambodians touch. They embrace and hug and love to know that you are in contact, that you are in understanding. They must be immune to all the nonsense the western world is overcome with. They don't need coffee because they are fueled by their hope and their love, which is infinite. As I live with them, I wonder if they even wonder what my life is, or if that even is that important, where I have come from, what has brought me here. For them it is irrelevant. What matters is what is now, what is immediate: we are both here to give to each other, and they sure know how to receive and give back with the same love that is truly the purest I've encountered. 

I arrived at Svay Khleang full of anxiety and excitement, anda little bit of fear, I must admit, but its the fear that can easily become fuel. It was fear that I could not give my all, or that all of this experience would happen in front of me without me truly noticing.

Luckily, time here is slowed down. I've been In Cambodia for 5 days, only two of them in Svay Khleang, but it feels like much more. Time has expanded, it has become an elastic band I can stretch and that continues to get longer and longer, every strand of elastic becoming visible, every detail becoming clearer. The first night here, I lied down in my bed, covered by a yellow mosquito net, and closed my eyes, to the orchestra of the rain that fell on the wooden roof of what is now home. I woke up at 4 am, fully energized, but decide to lie down and just listen, searching for the sounds Lola and Kalei told me I would hear. The mosque did sing at 4, and with it all the people of Svay Khleang prayed; the cat made a scandal a little after that, fighting or doing god-knows-what, the crickets sang, the rain stopped, the rooster sang, it began to rain again. I opened my eyes for the first time to realize it the sun was peeking through my window. I could see all the little bugs caught in the net and was very grateful for this net that set this barrier between us. I opened the window andI began to place images to my sounds. It was so truly familiar. The melody of Khmer was not foreign anymore. 

I saw a man sitting in front of his house, staring into nothing, thinking. In that instant I could not help but wonder what he was thinkingabout, if he is troubled by the same things that trouble me, or at least ofthe same quality. He sat there for long minutes,  experiencing time passing by, meanwhile in the other side of the world we are so afraid of time passing ahead of us. I went back to bed and was truly grateful for being able to see, hear , and experience every smile. I began to wonder about the sequence of events that had brought me here and allowed me to find this casual understanding, this familiarity. I abandoned this thought and began to read my book. This chapter spoke about synchronicity: the link to two events that are connected through meaning- a link that cannot be explained through cause and effect. I kept on reading and found the answer: How does it happen that A/B/C/D appear all in the same moment and in the same place? It happens in the first place because A B C and D are made up of the same quality, and are all exponents of one and the same momentary situation. All of us have ended up here- Lola, Kalei, Saupina, Azimah, Esan, Ariya- and many others whose names escape me right now, because something greater than us has brought us together- our human desire to love, understand, and communicate.                                                                  

Forming new habits

One of the things we did every day was find a quiet place to paint and write. We quickly learned that finding a new place everyday was not hard. And who knew who we would meet or what weather (extreme heat, monsoon rains, rainbows....or, all of the above) would find us along the way. Here are some of our favorite places and encounters.

- Dara & Alanna (May 2016)

Paving the path to Spring of Hope!

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My Friends,

As you have known that the path from the main road to the school normally becomes very muddy during the rainy season which will start from next month, May until November. When Keith came, he was interested in this and wanted to help, but a few months later we heard that an official from the government also wanted to help. Somehow, that official only promised and he never came back to fulfill what he had promised. We have no hope that we can get any help from him.

So now, I want to bring this issue for discussion again. I think that we should construct this very soon in this month April or early May. Otherwise, the rainy season starts and the construction cannot be made during that season.

This is also a strong proposal from all students as well. Parents of students have contributed and we already have $350 in hand from them. According to the estimation, the total construction will cost $1,206. So, we need $856 to add to the contribution of $350 that we received. This is to pave the path with concrete (cement, stone, iron) for 60 x 2 meters.

Your Friend,

Benjamin

Teaching at Spring of Hope School

Teaching at Spring of Hope School For two weeks during January we taught at the Spring of Hope School in Svay Khleang, Kampong Cham. It was one of the most incredible experiences we have ever experienced. Everything there, from the people and culture to the landscape and climate, was a fascinating and new view of the world. Teaching at Spring of Hope School in Svay Khleang, Cambodia was profound, enchanting, and unforgettable. The hosts were pleasant, the children eager and excited to learn, and the community was warm and inviting.

We found the school to be a very special place although there were some things that seemed strange to us, coming from a western school experience. I’m not sure whether these differences are just equally effective but different ways of teaching but it seemed to us like the way we were used to worked better. For example, it seemed strange to us that the same teacher taught the same group of kids throughout their time at the school. I think it might be more effective to have them change teachers every year so in case they end up with a teacher they don’t learn well from, they aren’t stuck with it. I also can see how this might be difficult logistically. I also think it might be productive to have them actually speak instead of write English more of the time. Again, I understand that this can be very difficult to do. This being said, it’s a wonderful school and there were definitely also things at the school that worked a lot better than our own western education system.

In terms of the program aside from the logistics of the school, I think it was a very positive experience. I felt like there was always a way for me to find out any information I wanted although I still felt fairly uncertain about a lot of aspects of the trip. That being said, this was probably my fault more than anyone else's. The email chain from previous years trips was very useful.

Most of our days we spent teaching at the school. We would begin teaching at 11 and teach until 2. Thereupon we would break for lunch and rest for two hours, and then continue teaching from 4 to 7. The class environment was a real excitement, and the children’s passion to learn from us was infectious and invigorating. For me, this was certainly the most wonderful part about teaching. And while Oliver and I were the official teachers, by the end of the trip we most definitely learned as much from the children as they hopefully learned from us.

The relationships we built with friends from the village will be the most memorable part of the trip, for me. Many hours of our days were spent playing with kids in the village, dining with them and their families, or simply exploring the area. We would play all sorts of games that the children showed us, toss frisbee with them, and go swimming in the nearby river. We learned all their names, and even without the help of language, the bonds we created with them were truly special. It was the people that gave my trip meaning.

The living situation was beautiful and fantastic. Although it was different, I found this difference to be an integral and essential part of why living there was so phenomenal. The hosts who lived downstairs were beyond generous, and our friends who brought us our food and sat with us were an absolute delight to get to know and become close with.

-Oliver Meldrum + Ryan Harris