Projects Abroad Day 3

Day 3 in Cambodia was full of hard work, adventure and harmony. We cannot express how amazing, kind and compassionate our students and volunteers are and are so proud and honoured to work with these wonderful people. The staff working with us are amazed about how organised, prepared and ready to work the group is and have expressed a number of times how cohesive and kind they are to each other and everyone they encounter.

This morning we travelled through the city to our placement at New Hope for Children dodging traffic with no evident road rules and thousands of scooters carrying up to 6 people at any given time.

We arrived at the placement for the morning to be greeted by the school director. It is amazing to see how thankful, happy and compassionate he and his teachers are, it hit home to all of us today reaffirming the purpose of our trip to give back to our community. We were greeted with smiles and hugs from the students and knew instantly that these children were going to steal our hearts. The students were divided into two groups one for clearance/construction and one for teaching. The groups divided into their roles giving all they had and more to work hard, make significance progress with the kindergarten room and to establish connections and relationships with the students and staff in the school.

The building group worked relentlessly to clear rubbish, palms and rubble to start establishing and digging out the trenches for the kindy room being built. We have two construction workers helping us on the project who wear sandals and shorts each day to work. They used old broken tiles to check measurements and accuracy and pieces of stick to measure depth and width of the trenches. It was eye opening seeing different skills and techniques applied by these men, they surely wouldn’t be Tech approved back home. The others spent the morning teaching, singing & laughing across the five open air classrooms. The children have been learning amazing skills from their teachers and impressed us with their English.

We then left the placement to return to the guest house, the team was exhausted from the heat and humidity. After lunch we went to the Cambodian Cultural Village, on the way we made a stop to pick up a pair of thongs for a student and stumbled across the most fitting hat for our wonderful staff member ‘King’ Ray (check out the photos below). In the village we visited the museum which had wax figures of significant people and events that have happened in Cambodia – the country has a rich history and is developing after some terrible historical events. In the village we also spent time experiencing different cultural activities, including archery and a Cambodian wedding ceremony with happened to feature one of our group members selected from the crowd. Dante was chosen to be the groom in the ceremony dressed in head to toe in hot sticky pink material, looking the part for his beautiful bride. The group couldn’t stop smiling and giggling at the different and interesting actions they made him perform.

The evening was spent preparing for the next weeks lessons at our placement. The staff, volunteers and students divided up to work in areas of their strengths either Sport & Physical Eduction, Hygiene, Art or English to deliver relevant and meaningful lessons to the 250+ students in the school. We established a clear timetable and everyone spent significant time to ensure that what they are teaching will be beneficial to all students.

We look forward to tomorrow to deliver the lessons and continue with the construction of the kindy. Again we are proud of our students and their willingness to take these risks and steps to help people near and afar.

Camilla West

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