After taking it easy the first weekend in Siem Reap and exploring the city. We arrived today at the volunteer work. First there was the meeting with Jan, the founder of the Cambodia-Dutch Foundation. Jan told us about, among other things, the differences in the culture and mentality of the local people. The local people have completely different concerns than we do in the Netherlands and really live from day to day.
Summary travel report Mabel Wines In Cambodia
This soon became clear because we had agreed to prepare the lessons at 3 o’clock. First class would start at 4 o’clock. Unfortunately, the preparation was delayed by an hour because we were still unable to figure it out completely when making a schedule. The children had no lessons in the first hour and this was no problem for anyone, at 5 o’clock these children themselves went home. At 5 o’clock Tamara and I gave a lesson to the next group of children. After this lesson came the next point, make a fire yourself to cook food .. Fortunately a few children came to help with making fire and cooking for us, as you can see in the photo. The first photo shows the house where we eat, the woman who normally helps us with this also lives here. In the coming days I will take even more photos of the beautiful surroundings, my place to sleep and various schools. I will also tell you more about the culture and the lessons here at school.
Living in the countryside of Cambodia
Be prepared …… This is the place where we sleep and live during the week. The first photo shows the cabin from the outside, we sleep on the top floor. It is open at the front. We sleep on a thin mat under the mosquito net. Because it is all open, it is also very noisy. The other photo shows where the family lives among us. The great poverty became very clear yesterday. Because the electricity was not paid for, it was cut off. Fortunately for us they had come up with a solution, with extension cords we had power from the neighbors.
On the last photo you can see the “bathroom”. With the water pump, water is provided in the container, with which we can wash ourselves. Believe me how happy I am to have a normal shower, toilet and bed again for a few days tomorrow.
Voluntary work day tasks
Our day is organized in such a way that we help in the mornings with the social work in the commune. In the evening we help from about 4 to 6 with giving the English lessons. What do we do during social work. Together with the teachers, we visit the poorest families or families with an illness. Together with the teachers we try to put together food packages that we can deliver to these families. Think of packages with rice, salt, sugar but also hygiene products such as shampoo and detergent. We also want to focus on the hygiene of the children in the coming weeks. Such as organizing a lesson to wash your hands, wash your hair or learn to brush your teeth. Last week, among other things, we visited a school that is far from the city and that there is severe poverty. We also visited a family where the father fell from a tree and contracted a paraplegia. We want to help these families in the coming weeks, among other things. If you like something like that I would like to donate something, send me an app. All bits are welcome!
Had a wonderful weekend in Siem Reap. Much at the pool, been out, Cambodian cocktail workshop done and nice and burned. I noticed that I really needed the weekend to relax and to be able to process all the impressions of the past week. Now the first day is over. The people in the countryside actually live from light to dark. This means that I am already in bed at 8 p.m. They get up at 6 o’clock and around 6 o’clock in the evening it is dark again and not that much anymore This week 4 of the 6 teachers were on course. As a result, far fewer lessons were given. The other two teachers were also very busy doing something. So we helped with the lessons from Monday to Thursday, this is from 4 to 6 in the afternoon. For this, the children go to the Khmer school. The lessons we give to the children are not compulsory. It is really voluntary English lessons, hoping for a better future. This is given at 3 schools. In total to more than 300 children. On Friday we went to another school with the teachers, where no English lessons are given. Here to provide information about brushing your teeth and washing your hair. Thanks to the donations we have been able to buy toothbrushes, toothpaste and shampoo. To help every child brush their teeth and wash their hair. You can see with different children that they have hardly ever brushed their teeth. We will be picked up again in an hour and we will return to the city.
It’s Monday again and that means today my third week has already started from volunteering. But my third week, Tamar also means her last week.: (Last weekend I didn’t do much, this because I hadn’t gotten so well. Was eating and less hygiene, but luckily everything goes well again. We are still I went to the cinema and I took a good massage. A dollar for half an hour is nothing! The teachers are back from the course so there are some more lessons that we can walk along. these lessons come, since our bikes broke down .. In addition, a nice photo with the kids and how fond they are of snap chat filters haha.
Celebration day in Cambodja
Yesterday it was another holiday in Cambodia, the king’s coronation day. As a result, no lessons were given. I had hoped that there was something special to do in the village, but unfortunately .. To kill the time I went for a walk. I met a number of children who were catching frogs together. They say that people eat frogs here, even though the teachers deny it. They are on the menu, so? Just like crocodile by the way, many restaurants claim to serve the best crocodiles in town. Fortunately our bikes were made again today. We went to the “school far away” together, this is about 45 minutes cycling. Here it was quite a chaos because the students of different ages are all in the classroom at the same time. So there were more than 60 children in the class at one point. The teacher arrived “fortunately” half an hour later as planned and was able to help us. Later I helped with another teacher for a few hours. In the evening I decided to bake pancakes and am quite proud of the result! Although they have not been able to match Grandma’s.
Thanks to the many sweet donations, I have been able to hand out 5 food packages today. The packages are distributed to the poorest families in the community. These families are sponsored once a month by the organization with rice and other foods. The packages I have distributed now are extra. The packages mainly consisted of hygiene products. These are luxury products for the people here and are often not bought with the little money they have. By sponsoring this and passing on information, we hope that people will also become less ill. This afternoon it’s time for me to take a look at the English lesson at the Pagoda, this is English lesson for the little monks. I am very curious how this will be! Tomorrow morning I will hand out 10 food packages on the other side of the village. These people live a little further from the city and you see that poverty is even greater.
Experience with volunteer work
The first four weeks of my journey are over and that means that I have already finished volunteering. At the moment I am on the bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok. This bus ride takes around 10 hours, but luckily there are only 10 others on the bus. So all the space! My last days of volunteering were special. On Thursday I said goodbye to the kids. Got a big hug from each and some sweet notes! Yesterday I went to a Buddhist ceremony at the Pagoda. Eaten noodle soup together with the manager of the organization and the doctor. In the meantime, someone was broadcasting everything and it was time for the elderly to donate some rice for their lunch to the monks. What I understand is that this day was primarily intended to raise money for the monks. The monks do not earn money, but ensure that the Pagoda is maintained and people can ask if they can pray for them. At 11 o’clock it was already lunch time and we got rice with everything. In the meantime, I didn’t understand much of what they all said. So I sat down with a few children who wanted to learn some English words. Then time to say goodbye to the house and the other teachers. These four weeks were quite an experience and it certainly wasn’t always easy. But I can certainly look back on this with a good feeling. Now it’s time to go backpacking, fancy!
Mabel was from 11 October to 11 November 2019 as a volunteer in Cambodia (Red.) Check for more information about Mabel’s journey her website.