Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Last Week

The time has come for me to leave Siem Reap. My last week here has been wonderful but also extremely busy (which is why I haven't posted anything lately!) Here is a recap of what I've been up to:

Teaching English in a village
I have a Khmer friend named Soupoan who works at a guesthouse in town where I like to eat breakfast (that's how I met her). We got to talking one day and after telling her that I was teaching English in Siem Reap, she invited me out to her village (which is about 30 minutes outside of the city by moto) to see the English class she teaches to local kids. This week I finally went and was amazed. Keep in mind that Soupoan is not a teacher, she already works six days a week and takes English classes of her own but somehow she manages to spend two hours every night teaching English to about 30 kids. Needless to say she is an incredibly hard worker and has so many great ideas of how to improve life in her village.

The kids she teaches are amazing as well. Their 'classroom' consists of a single white board propped up against a tree and a tarp to sit on but if they're unhappy you'd never know it. They were friendly, outgoing and eager to learn. I actually ended up teaching the class both Monday and Wednesday night and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Soupoan and I

The students!

Trying not to cry on my last day at school

I have been teaching at SHAC for almost two months now and have gotten to know a lot of the kids pretty well. Leaving was, obviously, not fun or easy. The kids were incredibly sweet and showered me with gifts consisting of drawings and notes, hair clips, flowers, pens and even a necklace (made out of a brastrap, I think! Very creative). I am really going to miss them.

Note the clips in my hair and my necklace..

Kids saying goodbye to Teacher Alex

Reaksa presenting me with my certificate

One last high five

Cooking an Italian feast for the guesthouse staff
On Friday night a couple of the teachers and I decided to cook a dinner for our guesthouse staff to say thank you for how kind and welcoming they've been. Since one of the teachers is from Rome and a very proficient cook we decided on pasta. The guesthouse kitchen is pretty limited which made cooking slightly stressful and I don't think any of the Cambodians loved the pasta (a pretty crazy looking meal when all you eat is rice) but everybody had a good time.

Amanda (the head chef) with some of the staff

Margarida and I chopping with our favourite guesthouse kids

Iveta and I slicing bread

Setting the table

The finished product!

They ate some pasta but the rice was also being eaten...

Helping throw a party at an orphanage

This one may sound a bit strange seeing as I just wrote a post about the negative side of orphanages but this one is really well organized. It's run by a man named Bel, who lost his leg due to a landmine at age seven, his wife and a small group of other people. Some of the other teachers have been volunteering there on the side and when they told me they wanted to throw a party (something not many Cambodian kids get to experience) I opted to help out. There was loads of food (both Western and Khmer), cake, music, games, balloons, party hats and gift bags. The kids (who are unbelievably sweet and well-behaved) had a ball. I think my favourite moment of the day was when a boy pulled out a pair of sunglasses from his gift bag and asked what they were. I showed him by putting them on and his face broke out into the biggest smile. These kids are so deserving and I'm glad they got to experience something I always took for granted growing up.

Playing duck duck goose

The beautiful party guests

Party hats and balloons

Going out three nights in a row

No pictures to show for it but it was a good few nights.

Like I said it's been a busy but incredible week. Saying I'm sad to leave is an understatement but I'm looking forward to what's ahead.


Sarah Abjeg said...

alex ! reading your posts make me want to put verything aside and leave for a year around the word! and this morning i am seriously considering that :D

I hope you will not forget my postcard because that will NOT be ok! :)

have a safe flight mon Alex,

des bisous

Wondering and Wandering said...

FAIS-LE! You know you want to :) Well guess what I just happened to put in the mail today! More postcards to come. Thanks for reading + tu me manques! xx

Jean Lawson said...

alex!! this made me tear up. beautiful photos of you and the kids.

Susan Zwick said...

Cambodia has certainly left an impression on you and I can imagine you have also made an impression on many of the Khmer people whom you encountered. I am happy for you..... thanks for your reflections and for taking the time to share.

Wondering and Wandering said...

@ Jean - Aw, thanks ducky!

@ Mom - It definitely did, thanks for reading :)