Christmas in Cambodia

Hello family and friends of ROV!!

Friday was the most emotional, hectic, fun and unforgettable day I ever had team leading. It was a day of rising to meet the challenge of finishing a huge project at the school while celebrating an important day for many of the volunteers—Christmas. I started the day off with some classic holiday cheer by delivering small gifts to the volunteers at breakfast, while decked in tinsel garland and a Santa hat. It was such a festive way to begin the day and set us off on the right foot as we headed off to the worksite where we knew before us laid a huge challenge. The volunteers rose to meet that challenged full force by working hard on all the tasks that had still needed completion—the sanding, brick layering for the garden, cementing around tiles and even building three full tables from scratch! We unwound during lunch by playing a hectic game of “spoons.” The afternoon was spent completing the reading room and tables, and making the entire area look clean and finished. The product that result was beautiful and all the volunteers were extremely happy with how it all turned out. We had completed the reading room, the garden area, and even three tables to place inside the room! The energy as the work day came to a close was absolutely skyrocketing as dozens of pictures were taken, smiles stretching across all of our faces.

Then came time for the Christmas party! One of the volunteers, Kevin, put on a Santa suit and handed out the candy we had brought to the kids as Christmas music blared through speaker system at the school. The principal and some of the English teachers set up a beautiful tree-like structure made out of colorful balloons and streamers as several moms prepared an awesome meal of fresh fruit, noodles and sweet bread for us to share together during this event. None of us had any idea the party was going to be this magnificent and we were totally blown away by the generosity of the school to put on an event like this. It made the whole day all the more special and festive. The kids loved the Santa hats we were wearing and requested we share with them. J All of the laughter, energy and high spirits that day created an atmosphere of celebration and pure happiness I will never forget for as long as I live. As many of the volunteers were saying (and I completely agree), “best Christmas ever!!!”

But the fun didn’t stop there. As the party came to a close, we said our goodbyes to the kids and left the school with tummies full of pineapple and watermelon. Back in the city, we went to dinner and had the secret Santa gift exchange I had organized a few days earlier. It was wonderful to see how much thought was put into each gift exchanged. All the volunteers really tried to make the small gift personal and this signals to me that what we have as a group is an awesome dynamic; a close knit ROV family has formed and this truly makes me happy.

The day ended with dancing late until the night. As a group, we all went out to explore the festivities happening on the always-bustling Pub Street which was especially lit up with beautiful blue lights hanging overhead. So many laughs were shared, and moves busted on the dancefloor within this group of individuals who so deserved that fun night out. I am so inspired by their spirit and drive to make a difference and can’t wait for what’s in store this upcoming week!

Good night everyone. Later tonight I’ll be adding pictures to this post and then writing about our adventure to the waterfall today!


12431337_10156436392060232_330408340_nThe finished reading room!
12399333_10156436399285232_1352914651_nPlaying an intense round of cards
12431744_10156436397635232_1954342555_nLearning from Domdin how to tile
12421341_10156436398240232_870923809_nCompleting the bamboo siding

12404638_1103695972975488_341775274_nTiling away12404123_10156436394210232_1954387508_nThe kids lining up for presents12404513_1683267198582554_1714188277_nA beautiful array of fresh fruit

12431758_1091011354244721_512906772_nKevin–I mean… Santa and Laurianne

12435716_1091011364244720_879805848_nDomdin handing out candy
12421437_10156436396705232_79289704_nExploring a festive Siem Reap Pubstreet