Hope and beyond

My final day at Hope has come and I have said goodbye to the Gryffindors and the Penquins. I took the lessons on my own (Anna and Gemma are away) and it was poignant as I thought back to my very first lessons with them both.
The Penquins are such a happy bunch and as I gave them gifts they had written letters for me. Raksmey came to class on Wednesday and via Vannack explained that he has been doing Khmer school work, we have realised now that he has some difficulties with learning but he has extra help at the other school, which is brilliant as usually these issues are not acknowledged even though they are evident. We have developed such a close bond that I was thrilled that he came back before I left.


I had such a fun and noisy lesson with the Gryffindors (below), playing games and singing but towards the end when I talked about how I felt about leaving and what I thought of them you could hear the silence. It totally took me by surprise and I felt that they were united in their despondency, I assumed that it was because there are no opportunities here and so I talked about hope with a lump in my throat. As I stopped talking they didn’t move so I walked towards the door to give them all hugs.

The journey through Hope has not been a roller coaster but a continuous flow of changing emotions increasing in intensity as I have gained understanding of their culture and above all their difficulties. With each passing week I have gained more insight and my admiration holds no bounds for they are wonderful, generous, happy people and they are always smiling, it has been a privilege for me to have spent time with them and a very humbling experience for which I am truly grateful.
The Purpose of Life by His Holiness the Dalai Lama:
“Whether we are rich or poor, educated or uneducated, whatever our nationality, colour, social status or ideology may be, the purpose of our lives is to be happy.”

Vannack, Jason (centre) and Lena.
Jason is an inspiration to all and from his vision has created Hope agency, which he is constantly striving to improve with new ideas.

I am now looking forward to continuing my journey in Asia, backpacking with new friends in Thailand and Laos, seeing other cultures and meeting people from all walks of life.


5 thoughts on “Hope and beyond

  1. Louisekfowler

    Aagh Irene, I’ve been reading your blogs with fascination. I bet you’ve made an amazing impression with your pipes, your humour and your exuberance! I bet you’ve made a difference for the children and will leave an impact. Love Lou xx


  2. Steve

    From 6,000 plus miles away, you have provided a regular update on life at Hope and beyond. Fantastic pictures and wonderful stories along your journey.

    Thanks for that, and the thanks from all the students for the impact you’ve had, and will continue to have in the future.

    Enjoy the next few weeks.



    ps – oops, almost forgot. The dogs will miss you also …. woof woof


  3. Caroline huggett

    Hi Irene, Good to hear from you. It sounds like you’ve made a real impression at the School and I’m sure all your efforts are appreciated. Have a fantastic time travelling and can’t wait to hear all your news on your return. Take care, Caroline x Date: Sat, 29 Nov 2014 18:14:22 +0000 To: chuggett@live.co.uk


  4. Maxine Halford

    I will miss your happy stories from Hope. Enjoy your travels, can’t wait for the next chapter. Lots of love Maxine



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