Thursday, September 18, 2008

Volunteering in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Picture 059
Originally uploaded by mc973
Our two weeks of volunteering in Siem Reap, Cambodia are about to come to a close. There's so much to say about this country and this experience, but internet time is limited. Soon we have to head back to the orphanage for our last afternoon of teaching.

My friend Debbie joined us in Cambodia. Here she is with a group of the kids from the orphanage. There are 67 kids living at the orphanage. We teach the kids at the orphanage for 3 hours in the morning. In the afternoon, Kristen and I teach English to teenagers, and Debbie motorbikes out to a school about 30 minutes from Siem Reap, and teaches the kids there.

Every day is a huge learning experience here. The country is still clearly recovering from the horrific events during the reign of the Khmer Rouge. Their is political unrest and corruption yet many people are working hard to create a better life here. The poverty we've witnessed is intense. The average Cambodian makes about $1.30 a day. The average age of Cambodians is 10. 65% of the population has TB.

But all those staggering statistics aside, we have had an incredible time getting to know the kids at the orphanage. Last night they had a dance recital. Debbie was the MC. I gave a few speeches, and the 3 of us were beaming with pride because all their practice paid off. They did so well and had a really great time. This morning, because it was our last day, we slacked off a bit on the English lesson and made bracelets with strings and beads. Even the security guards and kitchen staff made them.

It's an understatement to say that it's going to be to sad to say goodbye to them this afternoon. I get choked up just thinking about it. Long after we leave I'll be picturing their sweet little faces and the sounds of their giggles in my head.

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