The Movement On Own Feet - Centipede

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The King and the Centipede

Dear dear friends,
With the greatest joy I am sending you the news from Cambodia, I returned from there on Wednesday, March 15, 2006. In Phnom Penh, Cambodia the meeting of the Czech Ambassadors posted in Asia and the official celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Czechoslovak-Cambodian diplomatic relations took place.
At this occasion, all the Czech Ambassadors were granted an audience with, His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, the King of Cambodia. The King studied for a long time in Czechoslovakia and speaks Czech fluently. Thanks to this, the whole audience was in Czech, despite the strict rules of the Royal Protocol. I was honoured to be granted the audience as well. And Centipede could not miss it, of course... Among the presents that were handed over to His Majesty, was the book „Flying together only to war“, with the personal letter of Mrs. Běla, a beautiful Christmas card (it was VERY difficult to chose the most beautiful one as all of them are terrific), information material about the House of Family in Phnom Penh and the photos from the meeting in the Centipede school in Al.
During the short talk with His Majesty, I conveyed the greetings from all the Centipede children and wished Him all the best in his life. The sincere words of the King belonged to the thanks for your dedicated work for Cambodian children and respect for your constant enthusiasm and energy. Joy and passion were in his eyes.
On Saturday evening, a special event in the presence of the King, several ministers, diplomats and high ranking officials took place. An exhibition of the paintings of the Czech painter František Kupka was opened and a valuable book with all the pictures from the exhibition was handed over to the King. The beloved teacher of the King, who taught him during his time in Czechoslovakia, came to play the piano and accordion; she is 78 years old today. The King was really impressed and moved and – again – despite the protocol, he sang with us the Czech national songs that he leaned in our country and remembers until today. We were moved by the sincere love and friendship of the King and his relation to our country.

We had to invite the Slovak doctors from the House of Family and a couple of children. Not all of them could come, but the chosen ones behaved them very very well, they appreciated the invitation very much and all the time they were eager see their King. Most of the Cambodian people do not have the chance to see him in their lives. How surprised we were, or better said what a sensation it was when the King, after going through the exhibition, decided to meet personally most of the people who visited the event. I was hoping very much that he will meet our children. I was running around and trying to find the best place where I could take pictures from. And He really came...
When the King got to the children, his face beamed and he kneeled down to them. There were tears of happiness and joy in his eyes. All the children kneeled in front of him with their hands in „wai“, a traditional Buddhist greeting and listen to the wise words of the King. He was very happy that he can see the children and that they are given the education and home. The King embraced all the children. He appreciated your work a lot too. He also said he hoped to see the children again and invited them to the Royal Palace!! The feelings cannot be described... We were all crying of happiness and I was very happy that I did take the photographs of these precious moments so that you all can at least see it and enjoy a bit of this wonderful atmosphere. Can you see how your work wonderful is and what you have achieved? Every single one of you should be there and experience all this again, on your own.
On Sunday we did not talk about anything else than the previous evening. Well, we woke up and realized it was not only a dream!!
On Wednesday we went with the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Helena Bambasová, the Director of the department of Asia Mr. Jan Füry and Ambassador Šitler to Wat Opot to visit Father Wayne. We brought to the children in Takeo a present from you, a big globe. This idea came up from Father Wayne and we were more than happy to be able to make it real. In this way, the children can learn many new things; they can learn where Cambodia and Europe is and where Centipede lives. When we came to the class, the smallest ones were repeating alphabet and they were really good! The Ambassador handed over the big blue box with the Centipede logo… and the children queued to see the surprise... Then they opened it and were stunned. Their teacher explained about the present and showed how the world looks like. The children were over happy and I am sure that they will learn a lot… The Director General handed over also a symbolic cheque for the money that has been sent by you to Wat Opot earlier at the end of the last year. Father Wayne thanked in the name of all the children and sent his blessings to all of you. Unfortunately, we did not have much time to spend in Wat Opot and we had to say good-bye.

We went to visit the children to House of Family where we brought another globe. The curiosity of the children was huge here too, of course. The children sang their songs for us… they were so cute, just have a look at the pictures…
The meetings with the children were not long enough; we could spend the whole day there. But the time was compelling and we had to leave. All the children are sending thousands of greetings and their love and endlessly thank to all of you for your help and love from you. Meeting the King was the biggest experience for all of them and will be in their minds forever. I truly hope they will be granted to the audience to the Royal Palace and will be wonderful guests to the King who will learn more about them, their lives and your work. What we could wish more…
Again, all this would not be possible without you; you are the wonderful reason for this. I thank for you all that I had the honour to meet, because the sunshine in the eyes of the children – and now we can say even the King – is a great honour and reward for your wonderful work.
Thank you…
Truly yours,
Hanka Flanderova

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