08 April, 2011

CLC is one step closer!

The Creative Learning Center (CLC) has officially begun to take shape. Wat Opot had the wonderful luxury to have a couple of Kiwi’s/Canadian’s and a couple of Aussie’s join us for a spell. I had been putting off the huge task of cleaning up the unused building because…well, it just seemed so daunting!

Nonetheless, the volunteers did what all good volunteers do best; they volunteered to clean it up!!! We gathered the kids into the room and explained just what we were going to turn this space into and they were totally gungho! WAHOO, let the cleaning begin!!

This is what we were up against; cobwebs, dust, dirt, grime, you name it, we had it.

Once we got started, I snapped this photo.

and then adjusted my camera using the flash! Whoa, that’s a lot of dust!!!

Quickly changing the flash setting (some things are better off unknown) I captured the little ones working away. Who knew cleaning could be this much fun!

Did I mention the formerly unused room was dirty! Look at that water – and yes those rags will soon be used to clean the windows!


The wall of windows seemed to be the greatest attraction; nothing like grimey dirty washcloths on glass (figured they could wash to their hearts content and not to disappoint their hard labor, later we could sneak in and clean them properly).

Even the smallest Watopotian, Ratana, was earning her right to play in the room once it’s finished.


Actually, I take it back, by far the greatest attraction was the rafters. Once one little agile form climbed up, there was no stopping the brave or daring at heart. I don’t believe there is a cleaner rafter in all of Cambodia! Once the stick thing didn’t clean thoroughly, the climbing commenced! They had formed a team of sorts with the cleaners at the top tossing down their dirty rags and runners on the floor catching, rinsing and tossing back up. I kind of quit watching as I shoved away the thoughts of ‘they will fall’ or ‘that’s dangerous’ or ‘BE CAREFUL’ which at first ran amuck in my mind. I have seen them climb trees and that metal is much stronger than some of the branches they scamper across.


Afterwards some gathered to help me wash out the dirty rags. Look how carefully Rit is watching Claire ring the cloth. He’s a little bruiser and was quickly deemed the strongest ringer!


An hour later or so, I went back in to clean some more and it wasn’t long before Virek, Chay, Rit and Chaney found their way in and, yep, wanted to clean some more.

After I shooed the little ones out, the adults got back in there to scrub the walls one last time (kind of removing the smeared dirt left by the little ones!)  We also worked hard on the cement floor getting it as clean as we could!  This could never had been finished in one day without the help of Claire, Monica, Gabrielle and Dan!  I feel blessed to have the opportunity to meet such giving caring people!

Wherever I go I meet people of amazing aptitude.  Along with the new acquaintences, I keep family and friends close at heart because in reality, I wouldn’t be the person I am today without having had (and continue to have) them in my life. Many things remind me of home and of those I hold dear. Be it the embroidered pillow case from my mother that I sleep on each night, the tiny little Buddha statue from a DC friend, or my nephew’s used shorts I wear, physical items have followed me from place to place and country to country.

One such item, or should I say items, that were packed in my case this trip came from my Grandmother who recently left her physical body and our world at the age of 94. She was an indescribable force and inspiration in my life. While going through her home after her death, I was given a box of wash cloths which I had a feeling I could use in Cambodia…not sure why I needed to bring them all the way from Kansas, since they could probably be cheaply bought here, but regardless of the ‘why?’, I brought them. When I started preparing for the clean, I remembered them still packed amongst the toys that will soon grace the room.

Those little cloth rags were put to good use! I could feel Grandma’s spirit all around me as little hands grasped her cloths and scrubbed. I imagined little hands under hers as she helped them clean. Soft aged hands cupping small young hands. Even as the children washed them later, I was sure she was watching me, watching me as her lips slowly curled into a smile, a smile that brightened up her whole face as only hers could. Grandma, I love you forever. This photo’s for you!


Feebs NZ said...

Oh Melinda...I am so touched by all the children getting in and doing the cleaning.....Your last sentiments in this posting was so lovely that it actually broght my eyes to a few tears........... xxFi Christchurch NZ

Wayne said...

Looks GREAT! Can't wait to get back.

Taylor said...

What wonderful helpers you had, both young and older! The children are going to have much enjoyment from this room! Lovely words about our grandma too, I am sure she is there watching you and being so proud of the work you are doing.