THE END OF THE ROAD

Today in PSE there are all the monitors: those of Central —the magicians of the order—, those of Kindergarden —where tenderness is born—, Teenagers —the voice of Camboya—, Sen Sok —the place where to tell stories—, and OBK —the Neverland—; those of Prek Toal —where PSE was born—, Veal Sbov —the kingdom of the little Robinsons—, Phum Russei and Smile Village, Dental —the smiles searches— and Medical —the great masters of the Sabou Sabou—, Construction, Pensionnaires —PSE Pearls— and Handicapped —the true protagonists of the Champions League— Takhmao’s —the great black grandfather—; there are even the monitors of Sihanoukville and the monitors of Siem Reap, so far physically and so dear in Phnom Penh. They’re all here.

Today is the day to pick it up, to leave all the centers of the School Continuity Program as if nothing had happened.

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TAKHMAO: THE GREAT GRANDFATHER BLACK

When one goes to see the great black grandfather -Takhmao means “the great black grandfather” in Cambodian- after having visited all the other camps of the School Continuity Program, he could expect to have already exhausted his capacity for surprise. But it’s not like that. After five weeks here, in Cambodia, it is still possible to be surprised, falling in love, once again, with a camp. Takhmao is located in one of the most beautiful PSE centers of the whole program, but the most surprising is that two days before completing the School Continuity Program, after five absolutely stressful weeks, the energy of the monitors, instead of decreasing, continues growing. In the last minute of the program, the very soul of each person who has participated in the program is there, with each child.

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CONSTRUCTION: THE RIGHT TO DECENT HOUSING

The Construction subprogram is the “oddball” of the School Continuity Program: although oriented like all the other subprograms, for the children, its purpose, content and running has nothing to do with the rest. The goal here is not to keep children away from the dumpsite and in a secure environment during summer holidays, but to provide them, as far as possible, with a decent housing.

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MEDICAL: “SABOU, SABOU”

This is the Medical subprogram’s third year as part of the School Continuity Programme. It was born from vocation of giving sanitary assistance to the monitors during their stay. But, the children´s lack of knowledge about crucial issues such as their hygiene and health has made that the subprogram, apart from taking care of the monitors, also teaches the kids to take care of themselves as a fundamental part of their work.

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SIHANOUKVILLE

Four weeks ago, during the induction week, PSE volunteers travelled to Sihanoukville – one of the most touristic destinations in Cambodia, after Siem Reap, due to its proximity to the beach – for a training session. While most of them came back to Phnom Penh after the training, about 20 of them stayed there, not because of its nice weather and its countless beaches, but because there are two PSE camps settled there. Far from PSE Phnom Penh but loyal to its spirit and values, life in Sihanoukville in somehow very similar but very different too. An experience worth being lived.

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DENTAL: THE SMILE SEARCHES

The Dental subprogram was incorporated into the School Continuity Program when it was discovered that many children did not eat or play in the centres because their mouth ached. Today, Dental treats about seventy children each day in consultation and has designed a program of prevention and promotion of oral health for the children of all the different camps.

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PREK TOAL: HERE, PSE WAS BORN

The PSE Community Service Center in Prek Toal is full of patterned hands, drawings, words in Khmer, covering all the walls. There is hardly a free space. Every hand, every painting is a story. There are hundreds. Thousands. As many as the children who have come to eat there. Prek Toal is the first center founded by Christian and Marie-France des Pallières, more than twenty years ago, to feed the children of the dumpsite. The center of Prek Toal is the symbol of The Possible.

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KINDERGARDEN: WHERE THE TENDERNESS IS BORN

At first thing in the morning, the two zones in which a street divides the complex of PSE, always transited, are suddenly united. They are joined by a long string of colors with a monitor at each end and many tiny children seized by hand to the cord, who cross the street to go to day care. On either side of this strange and amusing row are other monitors carrying the youngest in their arms. They are the grand guests of the new PSE sub-program called Kindergarden.

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