August was a special month for the CBT tour guides. Three local women joined the CBT and will take part in the upcoming Tour Guide Training program and will become licensed tour guides in Banteay Chhmar. The program will last for three months and be conducted by Khieu Thy, one of Siem Reap’s most respected tour guide trainers. The training is being funded by Heritage Watch.
We are very excited and proud to be able to have female tour guides here in Banteay Chhmar. We believe that this will be an important part of building the confidence and strength of women in the community.
We also wish to once again acknowledge our heartfelt thanks to Brija and John Robertson, from Australia and New Zealand. Brija and John will be supporting the training costs for the female tour guides and provide some additional funds for English-language lessons for Sreymom Chantha, Sreymom Khoeun and Soly Raik. Previously, Brija and John helped the CBT with a donation for our solar panels.
On August 23rd, Global Heritage Fund (GHF) Field Director, John Sanday, gave the CBT tour guides a presentation of the GHF conservation project in Banteay Chhmar. Explaining the conservation project is an important part of giving a temple tour. It will take some time for the guides to understand all the complex terminology, but this was a good start. The local Khmer workers from GHF will help explain the project more to the tour guides, over time.
Also, on August 26-27, all the tour guides traveled to Siem Reap to receive a tour of the temples from Khieu Thy. They all learned a lot about the history of Angkor Wat, Bayon and the other important temples of the great Angkorian period.
Finally, we have a fantastic new discovery from the temple. A gilded bronze pinnacle was found by workers from GHF while working on Tower #18. This probably adorned the tower spire, itself. It has been sent to Phnom Penh for further testing, study and documentation. After 800 years, we can only wonder how many more pieces are buried within the temple complex that have yet to be discovered.