Day 127: A quick tour this morning of the day markets on the look out for decorations to take to school for the New Year Party.
When we arrive at school, there are tarpolines put up and the chairs from classrooms are all outside. The kids are dressed up in their best clothes (some of which we have given to them). They are so excited. Each class has a turn in front of the school to play a game, sing or dance. The local women have been preparing the party food all morning, which is Cambodian curry and bread. After all the classes have had their turn, it is time to eat. We hand out bowls of curry and bread to be shared by the kids. One bowl of curry to every four kids. We are surprised at their patience, no one eats, until everyone has a bowl of food in their group. The sight of these kids eating brings tears to your eyes. They are so hungry and no one is complaining about what “type” of food they are eating (as I hear many times from my own children) they are just thankful to have food. Most bowls are emptied pretty fast and some are even tipping the food into plastic bags to take home for their families – a very sobering sight.
After the food it is time for dancing and all the kids drag all the teachers up to dance. We have a wonderful time dancing with them all, and some of them can really dance. There was a bit of hip hop and break dancing happening. We also learnt a traditional khmer hand dance, which involves you walking around in a circle. The day is winding down and it’s time to say goodbyes to the kids. I didn’t think I would become so attached to them, and it truely breaks my heart to say goodbyes. I’m so sad that I’m leaving them and it doesn’t feel like I’ve done or given enough. How can two weeks of me being their teacher impact or help change their life. It feels so miniscule that you waltz in, teach them, but eventually leave them behind and return to your life.
One of the older boys, who we’ve all become attached to, has written us all a note, and hands it out to us individually. Here is what it said:
May you beautiful be in spring
May you meet spring for always
I wish you good luck
May good luck be always with you
I wish you good health
May I wish you every success
You very good teacher. I like you so much.
(I’ve kept his identity to myself – the girls know who he is)
I cry in the tuk tuk all the way back to town, the kids have touched me deeply.
Tonight is our last night, all six girlfriends together. Three are heading to Vietnam before heading home. We go out for dinner and celebrate our friendship, our adventure here to Cambodia and the experience of volunteering.
We decide to give this fish bath a try on our way home. (This isn’t my foot, because I was too busy squealing like a kid. This is my brave friend, you know who you are). The fish eat the dead skin off your feet. I didn’t like the feel at all.