Today we began our day bright and early and 7 am. After breakfast we hopped in our tuktuks for our daily ride out to the community we will be working in. Kro Bei Riel is a community made up of 12 near by villages and in the middle of the community is the school we will be working at, SHCC (Self Help Community Center). As soon we arrived, Sambath, the founder of the school, greeted us! After a few name games to get to know everyone we started right into orientation.
Sambath took us around the entire heart of Kro Bei Riel. The volunteers learned a little about the history of Cambodia as well as how the school was started. We continued on and stopped at the market where we saw where all the locals shop every morning for food for the day. Mandy and Taylor even got to try banana sticky rice – the best! Our next stop was a small café where we all got to try …wait for it…
ICE MILO!! For those of you who aren’t familiar with iced milo, it is a very sweet chocolate drink! After our café stop we continued to walk around the village where we saw traditional farming being practiced, fish farms as well as many other animals.
We then headed back to the village for lunch and a little break from the heat. The volunteers were split into different groups and each got to help the locals prepare the food. This is a great way for the volunteers to learn a little Khmer from the locals as well as a great opportunity for all of us to help them with English! Each group cooked a little something different for lunch. We had everything from omelets to heaps of vegetables and pork and fish.
Right after lunch we headed right into our house building project. Today’s goal was to raise the foundation of the house so that it is high enough for when rainy season comes around. The foundation is the toughest to build but MOST important part of these houses. The volunteers got to work side by side with the local children to start moving the dirt. The work ethic of the children is unbelievable and everyone loved being able to witness it. While the foundation was being raised the other volunteers were removing nails from the old house. We will be reusing these boards on our new house. The afternoon was filled with a lot of sweat and hard work and I am so proud of all the volunteers. They absolutely KILLED it.
We ended our work day with one hour spent interacting with the local children. For one hour they have sport class, dance glass and drawing class and we got to join in! The dancers got their groove on to traditional Khmer music as well as the famous tracks of Justin Beiber and One Direction. The drawers were able to sit down with the children and help them draw different objects and learn the Khmer name of each. Meanwhile, over on the basketball court, the locals were schooling the volunteers in a mean game of basketball.
After time with the children we wrapped up our workday and headed back into town. We showered up and headed to dinner at a local restaurant. A few volunteers headed to bed after dinner while some hit the night markets in search of the famous baggy elephant pants!
Tomorrow is going to another busy, busy day as we get right into work when we hit the village. Keep it up guys, I’m so proud of you!!