July was a month of goodbyes for us here in Banteay Chhmar. Our English-language teacher, Andrew Marino, completed his teaching contract with Heritage Watch. Andrew spent the last year teaching English to the CBT members and tour guides. He also helped tremendously with CBT operations and capacity-building. Andrew built the CBT website, did fundraising, budgeting and reporting. He also helped the CBT members understand hospitality-related issues and ways to improve the facilities and comfort level for visitors. Fortunately, Andrew will continue to help the CBT as much as possible with website administration, monthly reporting, planning, fundraising and trying to improve the facilities and visitors’ experience. He is also interested in helping with sustainable community development and livelihoods projects.
Also, Peace Corps volunteer, Kenny Halloran, completed his assignment. Kenny taught mostly in the high school. He also helped teach students at the pagoda and the CBT members, as well. Good luck, Kenny!
On July 11th, a few CBT members took a trip to another one of the satellite temples. They went to see the Mebon Temple. This 800 year-old temple is located on a man-made island in the middle of the Mebon Baray (reservoir). This huge baray was the main water reservoir during the Angkorian period. There was an intricate pattern of inflow and outflow canals connected to this baray. The baray was dug by hand during the construction period of Banteay Chhmar Temple and the laterite stone was used as building material throughout the temple complex. The baray is still used today as a water source, for growing rice, catching fish and is a good place for birdwatching and watching a sunset.
The temple, itself, is mostly collapsed and heavily covered by vines, trees and thickets. It is only accessible during the dry season and requires sure footing and care to reach. It is definitely worth a trip for the more adventurous-minded.
The CBT received another donation this month. Paul Marino, brother of our English teacher, and his wife Joyce donated a camera to the CBT. The camera will help us with marketing, reporting and help to document our activities and progress. Thank you Paul and Joyce!
Finally, we have added a Support Us page to our website to thank and honor our supporters and donors. We are very grateful to the individuals and organizations that have and continue to support us. Thank you everyone!