Chres school and orphanage.

Trip Start Oct 27, 2008
Trip End Oct 27, 2009

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Friday, January 23, 2009

I've had the best week of my life. 8 days ago we went on a quad bike tour out in the sticks of Siem reap and along the way we visited Chres village, which is 40 minutes away from the town centre and also has Chres school and orphanage. We visited it as part of the quad bike tour and i was overwhelmed by how amazing it was so i asked if i could volunteer there and they said yes. So every morning for 8 days i'd get picked up at 7am by one of two young boys (Pep and Yeoul) and get home at 445pm. There are 300 pupils, 50 are orphans ranging from 6 years old to 17 years old. Listening to their stories most of them have lost their families to motorbike accidents, HIV, very bad healthcare and poverty. Some have also been abandoned as their parents couldn't afford to feed them. Without the orphanage these children would have surely got into prostution, drug abuse and begging. You can see this every day on the streets, it's heartbreaking. The rest of the children are from very poor families who live in the local village.

In the mornings i had a class of 30 all of very different abilities, some could write sentences others couldn't say their name. It was impossible and took a lot of patience (more than i've ever needed in nursing). I thought it would be easy teaching them how to speak and write english, maybe just because i know how to speak and write it. But it really really wasn't. One day i spent 3 hours saying ''snake'' over and over again. They just couldn't say it. I started to question myself, and think oh god am i saying it right? They also repeat everything you say so i had to be really careful. I was telling a boy how good he was doing in class, and i said ooooh mid sentence and he copied it!! I had to explain to him that it ooooh isn't really a word and i was just being silly. But all the children are so keen to learn, they see learning english as a way out of poverty. In my afternoon class there were 60 children. 4-5 children to one desk. It was even harder than the morning class. But the satisfaction i felt when they actually said something i had taught them or say 'My name is....'' (Which they couldn't do before) was incredible. I just wish i could have had more time with them. A week just wasn't enough to help some of them that really struggled. For my last day i took photos of them all (cost a bloody fortune to get them developed) and they made posters, i said they could draw what they like as long as they put some writing on it. The end result was so good and they had so much fun making them.

It was amazing because it was hardly ever emotionally difficult. They are just too happy and full of life. A lot of the children love living in the orphanage because they have so many friends.There was of course, times that were difficult. Especially when they got given their christmas presents (aid boxes sent from america, england). The children were so excited about the smallest things like a pencil, yo-yo etc. It was so heartwarming. Some of the boxes had pictures of the families who had sent them, this confused the children a bit but they loved looking at the white smiling happy faces. I don't really know why it upset me so much, maybe western guilt.

I also became friendly with my drivers, two young boys who earn a bit of extra cash by driving volunteers around. I went to their house a couple of times for dinner which was great, especially when they made me eat 3 month old fish. Every day on the way home they would make me sing micheal jackson songs to them. They were so generous with the little they had, it really made me feel quite emotional. I treated them to gifts on my last day.

I will definately be coming back here, for much longer next time.

Love, Sam xxxx
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mumdadjosh on

I'm coming back with you - DEFINITELY!
I am busting with pride and awe at my beautiful, amazing, huge-hearted daughter xxx
WOW! Darling!!
Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

PS English is the hardest language to learn and to teach

mumdadjosh on

Steve has just agreed that I can spend my six week hol (2010) working there. He's going to tag along for a few weeks...and we'll force Josh to come whether he wants to or not because it's EDUCATIONAL!

And Darling, we'd like to support the orphanage - have you any details or contact no's??

We are so proud of our dancing, so proud

mumdadjosh on

Oooooooh .... aaaaaah!
Absolutely amazing blog Sam, it's difficult to sum up all the emotions I felt reading this, so very, very proud of you, you are the most amazing daughter that I could ever have wished for.

Love my teaching queen!

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