Visit to Cambodia in March
Early in March, Sr Lee Veriga met Sr Moekti Gondosasmito in Siem Reap, Cambodia, to travel together to Battambang to visit the community in Chrab Veal and see how all was developing since their last visit.
Excerpts from the text of Sr Lee Veriga:
There are currently three sisters in the community. Sr Supansa (Province -Thailand) who has now returned to the community after spending 6 months in Phnom Penh, studying the Khmer language, Sr Nongnut (Province - Thailand) and Sr Sensa (Province - Indonesia). (…)
At our last visit a suggestion was made to have a small plaque made for the entrance of the house to identify the Community as Ursulines. Here is what was created!
On the afternoon we arrived, we had a relaxed meeting with Fr Bongbong SJ, the Parish Priest and also Vicar of the Battambang Prefecture.
He spoke very highly of our Sisters here and the work they are doing in their ministry and beyond. He emphasised the significance and importance of their ‘walk the talk’ approach, in terms of the way their behaviour provides a clear model to staff and parents, of the values that provide the framework for all that happens at Mother of Peace School and with the village community. (…)
There were many stories about how well the students are learning, their positive attitude to learning and even changes in behaviour at home.
Bongbong also shared with us his knowledge, insights and understanding of the Cambodian people, their culture, beliefs and how these are expressed in their behaviour, attitudes, and communication. It was very helpful in providing a better appreciation and understanding of the cultural context of our mission here with the people and how to work with them in an appropriate and culturally sensitive way. (…)
MOTHER OF PEACE SCHOOL
We were able to follow up on the process of registration of the school, with Linla, who is the Principal of Mother of Peace School. (…)
The kindergarten currently has over 200 students and there are many more who have requested enrolment but are unable to be accepted due to the current large numbers. Primary School - approximately 270 pupils.
Linla is working on improving security around the school grounds and is keen to have more playground equipment on site for student use. This equipment is recognized as a way of teaching children confidence, risk taking, physical strength and resilience. (…)
A new statue of St Angela has been erected in the entrance driveway of the school, alongside the kindergarten. The statue was created by a local man from the village, whose profession is making statues. The statue is modelled on an image of St Angela from the Netherlands. This project was initiated by Fr Bongbong. (…)
Moekti and I were very happy with our visit and witnessing the amazing work the sisters in Battambang continue to do, to build community and provide an enriching, safe and welcoming learning environment for the children and their families.
We look forward to returning here in November to celebrate the blessing and official opening of Mother of Peace School and the Sisters’ house.(…)