I didn't spend any of my free time being a tourist. On Monday, when I landed, I went straight from the airport to meet Leng Sopharath, the college student our family sponsors through the Sharing Foundation's program. (Some of you may remember that I used Chipin for my first personal fundraising campaign last November to sponsor her and write a case study here.)
I got to spend about an hour and half with Leng Sopharath. She showed me her room, her photo album, talked about her family, her daily activities, her job goals and how much she appreciated the opportunity to attend the university. I was touched that our photos and the kids drawings that we exchange on a quarterly basis were on her wall. I took this video so I could show it to the kids.
I got a tour of the girls dorm. Later the boys arrived and we sat and talked. I presented them with some of the tech shirts. The young woman with the google t-shirt is a IT major! The shirts were very much appreciated. In contrast to my blogging friends, I asked the college students if they knew what a blog was. They were not sure. They were familiar with google and yahoo and they use the Internet for email, but blogging was a new term for them as it is for many Cambodians.
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The next day I went out to Roteang and observed a google search lesson being taught at the Sharing Foundation computer school by Mam Sary the head of the Sharing Foundation's English School program. (You can read more about the program over at the Sharing Foundation's web site). Mam Sary is able to access the Internet via his cell phone connection. It's slow, but he is able to teach a lesson to the students about how to find supplementary materials for their school assignments. One of the students asked if Google was the best search engine. Mam Sary said, 'Yes, Google is the best." This is quite amazing because several years ago these students would have had no idea about the Internet.
Mam Sary also received several of the video cameras that Jay Dedman and Ryanne Hodson brought over. So, I invited to the Cambodian Bloggers Summit and he was thrilled to learn about the Web2.0 and is very interested incorporating some of the ideas into his instruction.