Week 2 – April 26th to April 30th, 2010

So I’ve finished my 3 week stint teaching English in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I’ll miss the kids. It was like seeing one big family taking care of each other. I took quite a few pictures on my last day, and the kids and I had fun using the video camera to record our antics, even in front of the Australian lady visitor we had (no idea who she was). Watching the kids take care of each other was phenomenal. If some kid fell down and hit his head, often he cried for 3 seconds until someone acknowledged his pain and suffering, and then he stopped and ran off to the next activity. I saw kids falling off of benches (and yes, I did try to stop them), and all they needed was a hug to keep going. My mom used to tell me to be more resilient. Sheeit, these kids are the epitome of the word.

So how did it go? It was fun. I didn’t try to teach the kids anything new, opting instead to get them using whatever knowledge they had already. I read some more books to them and then on Wednesday we watched Kung Fu Panda. Thursday was actually a write-off since I was out with a head cold (and I know which little devil gave it to me!!!) This was a very easy week. My goal on Friday was to make a movie with the kids, but NONE of them were interested. I stopped by again on Saturday with some treats for the kids and we had a party. I bought some VCDs (Khmer karaoke) for the kids to sing along with, but then I was informed that the DVD player didn’t work. One of the kids had an old CD player and managed to find some computer speakers (I have NO idea where they came from) and made one of the CDs he had work. I don’t think the kids enjoyed the music I brought 😦

It’s been a very good experience for me while at SFODA. I would come back. Many of the other volunteers who I’ve met have different itineraries than I. Some are in Cambodia explicitly to volunteer to complete some degree requirements, others are on prolonged travels and have no urgency to get back to where they came from. I do question whether or not I made a difference in the kids’ lives. I’m told that they were asking for me the day I was absent, but I wonder if I’m just one of many open-minded and fun volunteers that have passed through those gates. I’ve also been informed that the staff thinks I’m an actor because I can change my voice (yes, including my amazing British/Australian/Scottish/Latin accent, my “gay” voice, my penchant to sing and my high-pitched female voice) and my facial expressions.

As I move towards Vietnam this weekend, I can’t help but reflect on how far I’ve come over the last 3 months alone. I finished up a contract in South Korea that put me in touch with a whole swack of interesting people (such as crazy Blackburn women, a rockstar, a natural playa, beautiful women, a great cook, amongst others). And now I’m moving through southeast Asia having met fighters in Thailand (including a squadron of Canadians in Phuket), a British diplomant (well, I call him them because he’s a hell of a lot nicer than I am to the tuk-tuk drivers), and now hot Swedish and Asian women.

With that, Vietnam, here I come.


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