A few goodbyes and many Hello’s

Today we said goodbye to those going to the elephant sanctuary, but it was not all bad because the three volunteers left took an exciting Khmer cooking class. The volunteers went to Annadaya Restaurant where the chef showed them how to prepare, cook, and beautifully plate a four course meal. To start, the chef took the volunteers to the local market to pick out the ingredients for the meal. There they tried new vegetables and fruits native to Cambodia, and one volunteer even ate ants! Yum (kind of)! For the first course they prepared a Khmer mango salad. The dressing was a tad spicy, but very delicious! Next they made traditional Khmer coco soup with different types of eggplant and fish paste. Definitely a crowd pleaser. For the main course they made chicken amok, which consisted of eggplant, garlic, fish paste, chili peppers, and chicken, among other things. Lastly for dessert they made sticky rice with mangoes and strawberry-coconut paste (my personal favorite). The volunteers left both full in the belly and full in the mind. They picked up some cooking skills that they’ll likely be able to use back home (so mom and dad, be sure you have them show off their new skills when they get back!)

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Volunteers – Courtney and Gabby

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The finished product of Volunteer’s Courtney, Gabby and Caitlyn cooking lesson!

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Volunteer Gabby having a stab at the local Cuisine (Ants).

I’m Stew the team leader for this week that will be working alongside Domdin, Reach Out’s Cambodian Team Leader. I’ve been with Reach Out for almost two years now and I always try to do more work for them when I can get away from my job as a fire fighter in Sydney Australia. This week we will be working in one of the Cambodian Schools, KID TEA.

Today we welcomed thirteen new volunteers to help with these projects. The first eight volunteers arrived earlier in the day; Jade, Claudia, Samantha, Kirsty, Alexis, Amy, Leora and Linda. We managed to explore a bit of Siem Reap together before heading off to dinner where the new volunteers managed to catch up with the three volunteers from last week; Gabby, Caitlyn and Courtney. At Ankor famous (the restaurant) where everyone was a bit adventurous and tried some of the local dishes. They weren’t disappointed, the food here is so different and yet so amazingly delicious, one even commented saying that she’s full but she wanted to eat more!

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These eight volunteers went to bed shortly after dinner to recover from their flights while I went out to meet the last five arrivals at the airport.

Zac, Nicole, Riley, Kayla and Emily.

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This was right after breakfast and we’re about to head out to the school to get started!

What’s great about meeting these new volunteers was without a doubt their unbridled enthusiasm. They have worked long and hard to get where they are today, to come here and help us make a difference. You can see it in their faces. Each and everyone of them, no matter how jet lagged, came out of customs with huge smiles on their faces. It’s in these moments that you know you’re surrounded by truly awesome people.

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