Siem Reap – Donations and Volunteering

After volunteering to teach English at Osoam Village, I got the bug and then when I left Pursat, and sent books back to them, the bug got stronger to help.  I love Cambodia, and the people here, so why not try and make a difference!  They want it, and they need it.

In Siem Reap, my plan was to come for two nights, just to go and see the temples.  Then after that, get the hell out the tourist city.  I am not a fan of cities, and even less for tourist cities.

However, across from my hotel, I saw a poster asking for volunteers to assist Cambodian teachers in teaching English.

5 minutes later I was on the phone with Sophal from Stung Thmey Primary School.  She said come tomorrow at 5 pm and I will bring you into a class.

So, I extended my hotel stay for 7 more nights.

The next day I meet with a school representative at the gates, and she takes me directly to a classroom where Vichhai Chhoeng, is teaching.   He introduces me to the class and then the 100 questions start.  The kids want to know everything about me, and where I am from.

My first day in the class was pretty awesome.  The students showed they really enjoyed having extra help.  The teacher, is a really nice guy, and is a teacher during the day, then volunteers here for 1 hour, and then goes to night school after.  Impressive!

The next day, I purchased 20 books and 40 pens to hand out to the students.  These students are middle class Cambodian, so most can afford these things, but I wanted to show my appreciation for them allowing me to join their class.  Plus, the books supplies only cost $20.

That day when I handed out the books, the kids really showed me how much they loved it and at the end of class a few of them said thank you again, and gave me a high five.

I have know been volunteering at the school for 7 school days, and am now extending my stay for another 5 or so.

Onto the next donation adventure!

At my hotel, there is a young man who works the night shift.  He is a very calm, relaxed nice kid.  He is 18, and is from a small farm village about 75 KM outside of Siem Reap.  I don’t know the exact details, but the 6 families in his village joined together and sent him to Siem Reap, to get an education and a good paying job.  In return he helps support the farms with his salary.

He asked me if I would like to go with him on his day off, to visit his village, and meet the young kids.  I said Yes, obviously!  We also decided to get some supplies for the kids.

On Christmas day, at 5:30 AM I awake, get ready, grab the books and meet Jāvaý Pozz Svet.  We jump on a TukTuk with another good friend who is driving us.

We decided to take a short cut, which turned out to be a long cut.  One bumpy ride!

At the village, I meet Jāvaý family, and some of the other parents in the village.  I also get to meet all of the crazy little kids. 🙂

These kids go to school about 1 hour per week.  The remaining time they are helping on the farms, collecting rice, mango’s, yams, and different berries around the area.

After showing me around the farm, his mom tells me she is cooking lunch for me.  She is very excited to cook for me.  I think this is the happiest I have ever seen a person, when cooking for someone.  She is always smiling, and happy.

I can smell the food and cannot wait to eat. MMMMmmmmmmm!

I wish I could explain exactly how this food tasted.  It was amazing, and I wanted to take it home with me.  Lol.  It was spicy, sweet, sour, salty!  All the flavours of the rainbow 🙂

After lunch, the kids line up.  Well, they tried to line up, but some of the girls were too excited to receive the books.   The one girl could not stop smiling!  What an amazing feeling handing out the books and pens to these kids.

Too finish off my visit, Jāvaý and his brothers take me for a little trek into the jungle to show me another temple that is not listed on the tourist guides.  This is a hidden gem and I am extremely lucky to have seen it.  Not many people in the last few 100 years have been here.  Especially no tourist.

Another end to an amazing day!  Thanks Jāvaý for taking me to meet his family and village.  This is one day I will never forget!

The one day I was playing on google maps looking at what was in the area, when I saw a charity school called, “World of Hope School”.  With a name like that, I have to find more about it.

They had a website and phone number listed.  So I gave the school a call to find out more about it.  The school is geared towards kids without families, or who cannot afford to go to school in the city.

When I called, the director, he was so excited on the phone.  He told me many things and kept asking when I could come visit.  In between his excitement I was able to get some basic information.  They have a total of 106 students, and classes are separated between morning and afternoon.  Not all students go each day, and the morning students are different from the afternoon.

Well, that day I went and purchased 110 books, with 110 pens.

40 of the books

Around 9 am in the next morning I head over to World Of Hope School.

I am greeted in the classroom with 20 Hellos and a bunch more questions.  I love how happy Cambodian kids are.  They love learning and telling you all about Cambodia.

The teacher gave the kids a 15 minute break and they played football.  Was really entertaining.

While they were playing, I met a new volunteer from Australia, named Allison.  She is staying for 3 weeks in this school, while on her vacation.  Pretty awesome thing to do on your holiday.

After the break, Allison went back to teaching the kids, and I got a chance to watch and do a little interacting with them as well.

The one little girl truly touched my heart.  She is 5 years old and is so smart.  She  very, very quietly told me the alphabet, and then told me A is for apple, B is for banana, and so on.

The teacher of the school told me when she arrived at the school a month ago, she would not talk, or even look up.  She only held her head down.  She was so sad.  But the last few weeks she has been talking more and smiling.  She is still very shy.

My understanding is her parents gave or dropped her off in the middle night.  No one actually knows who they are.  She is all alone!

Even as I write this I am thinking about this little girls face, and how sweet she is.  I almost want to give up helping.  Giving her a book and a pen, does this really help her?  I don’t know what I can really do to help people like this.  It kills me inside to see this happening in the world, when back home people bitch and complain about the stupidest things.

She is the little girl on the bottom right, front.

About an hour later, it is the end of the morning class and I get the chance to hand out the books.

Each kid stands up and says thank you.  Always with a big smile! 🙂

After handing out the books, all of the students stood up and said thank you, with a little cheer.  Was really heart warming.  Some great kids, and I wish them the best!

Check out World Of Hope School

At the moment that is the end of the donations until I move onto another location or find another great school to donate too.

The rest of my time in Siem Reap will be spent volunteer teaching at Stung Thmey Primary School with Vichhai Chhoeng.

On a final note, don’t forget that the world is made up of amazing people, and don’t be negative over the simple, small stupid things!  Instead live on the positives you see everyday!

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