First Day Volunteering

My apologies – I seem to have lost my mojo with getting these journal entries up to date.  Lets get back to it – hmm.

Day  117: We transferred to the guesthouse this morning to get our orientation and run through paperwork for teaching the kids.  We did a tour around town to get our bearings on local markets, banks and good restaurants.  Quick lunch and my first latte in Cambodia (not crash hot but what do you expect).

We take tuk tuk’s everywhere we go and are getting used the mad traffic.   Our tuk tuk drivers take us out to the school where we are volunteering called New Hope Cambodia and just the ride out there is an eye opener.  The village roads are all dirt and as you follow other tuk tuk’s you get dust in your eyes, mouth, nose (that explains why some people wear those operation masks that you see on TV). The sweltering heat is always present and it is hotter at school.  Our teaching hours are from 2pm – 6pm every weekday for the next two weeks.  We are welcomed at the school with kids running up to hug you and hold your hand.  They all say hello in English, so far so good.   We are given our classes and go in to teach – just like that.  I’m with my friend Lisa and both of us have never taught before but have kids and been involved in our kids schools back home.  This doesn’t stop our nerves though.  Our class ranges in ages from 4 year olds to 10 year olds.  The children welcome you in almost military style unison “Good afternoon Teacher, how are you?”  in which we would reply  “good afternoon students, I’m fine thank you”.  We have the assistance of a khmer (native language) teacher and another Danish volunteer who came to volunteer at the school over a year ago, and has never returned home.  She runs the class and we just follow her lead.    This is the first class, but later in the afternoon from 5-6pm we have an older group ranging from 10-15 year olds. They are a great group as well.  My first overall impression is that they love to learn, they all want to be there (a difference to western schooling) and I’m constantly bombarded with “cha cha” (teacher) to come and look at their work.

Our tuk tuk drivers are waiting for us to go back to the guest house and we all meet for a quick beer and debrief about our classes.  We head into town for dinner, and I decide to do western tonight and go for pizza!  Yep they have lots of western restaurants here and I wanted something plain for my tummy.  Hoping to get some sleep tonight, as due to jet lag keep waking up at 3am – which isn’t good for my psyche! (missing home).

Grateful for home and all the things I take for granted, food, education, family.

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