Tryin' my hand in Battambang....

Trip Start Jan 07, 2008
Trip End Jul 22, 2008

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Where I stayed
Chhaya Hotel

Flag of Cambodia  , Battambang,
Friday, May 9, 2008

I find myself still in Battambang, Cambodia's 3rd largest city (even though none of the cities are really that big), after almost a week. I am trying my hand at teaching english once again...and feeling a bit more successful already than my attempt in Malawi.

While in Cambodia i've been keeping my eyes peeled for volunteer opportunities to just try to help a wee bit. On Sunday a motobike guy started talking to me as i was walking down the street (as they do very often asking if i need a ride)... i kept walking trying to deter him as i didn't feel like talking and didn't need a motobike ride. Then he started talking aboot this english school that he's in charge of which needs volunteers so naturally that grabbed my attention and i stopped to talk to him. Today is my last day to teach as i wanted to do a week...only a few hours a day though in the late afternoon. It's a free english school that any kids can attend after their 'normál' school. A couple (American guy and cambodian woman) started it a few years ago and rely purely on volunteers and donations to keep it going. There are a few other teachers there, all Cambodian that work there everyday for free...amazing! So Kamnoth, the motobike guy picks me everyday, aboot a 10min ride.

The first day i literally just get thrown into it. He shows me the classroom and then just leaves me...i explain i at least need a textbook, need to know what level they are at and a marker to write on the board would be nice. I get all those things within seconds and i'm on my own i just wing it...think getting thrown into it (like anything) can be the best way. I take the textbooks home with me and prepare a 'lesson plan' each day thereafter so i have something to go off of and some examples. I teach 2 different classes and the students are amazing...they sit relatively still and at least look like they're listening and trying to make out what i'm saying. The kids are 14-20 yrs old i think and the classes only have aboot 20 students and they have at least a very basic concept of english...unlike in Malawi where there were 100 kids aged 5-12 with no english. So i feel like they understand a little bit.. which is nice. To be honest, i enjoy it more and more each day...

Battambang, itself, there is not a lot to do or see...just go with the slow pace by sitting by the river or renting a bicycle. Im not sure how i have let the time go by exactly...i did rent a bike and ventured to some villages, read a lot, internet a lot, sitting by the river. The first day i was here i did get a motobike guy to drive me to a few villages and to a few temples quite a way out of the city so it was lovely to see the village life...obviously people living in the city have quite a bit more money than the farmers or you can notice the difference in the way of living.

I'm glad the work found me here and was able to help like i envisioned...get a feel for teaching english and for the kids. Im now looking forward to moving on to a new city, experiencing a new environment as i am feeling a bit anxious and still craving some good ól company...taking a boat i think to the next stop Siam Reap, to see one of the seven manmade wonders of the world!
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