Sues’day!!! After a few late night arrivals, the whole crew is in town!
We have our Village Immersion and Elephant crew: Grace (T) from Australia, David (Australia), Katie (Australia), Clayton (USA), Selena (Canada), Leona (Australia), Evie (USA), Lauren (Australia), Jane (USA), Jordan (USA), Holly (Australia), Anneliese (Australia), Kirra (Australia), Georgia (Australia) and Claire (Australia). These guys will spend one week building a house and the second week at an elephant sanctuary.
We also have our teaching program crew: Emily (Australia), Kameko (USA), Jessica (Australia), Georgina (Australia), Amity (Australia), Nick (Australia), Madison (Australia), Adele (Australia) and Lillian (Australia). These guys will spend four weeks in Siem Reap teaching at a school.
Today began bright and early at 6:30 am for program orientation and breakfast. At 7:30 am we all headed off on our daily tuktuk ride to the village we will be working at! When we arrived at the village we were first greeted by the resident dogs, Emmy and Lucky and then finally by Sambath, the director at the school! After a few name games we took a tour of the village. The volunteers learned about the history of Cambodia and how the school came about. We got to see local markets, traditional farming and all the houses that the locals live in. It was really neat to see how different the lifestyles are here than our home countries. It was definitely an eye opening experience.
After our orientation walk around the village all the volunteers were split into different groups for lunch. Each day the volunteers get to help cook lunch with the local children. Veggies on veggies on veggies on pork on rice were on today’s menu. This time is a great opportunity for the local children to improve their English as well as the volunteers to learn Khmer!
After lunch the teaching volunteers met their classes and the village immersion volunteers started straight into BUILDING!! We split into two groups for today. While one group began to remove old nails from pieces of wood (wood that we will be reusing on the house to conserve), the other group began to move dirt to raise the foundation of the house. A strong, sturdy foundation is the most important aspect of building a house as they need to survive the rainy season.
Around 3pm we finished up our work for the day got to spend one hour of interacting with the children. The school provides dance class, music class, sport class and drawing class. This is a great opportunity for the volunteers to get to know the children better. After an hour of lots of laughs and piggy back rides we headed back into town for the day.
We filled our evening with dinner, massages and night market shopping!!! Tomorrow is a big day, as we start working on the house immediately in the morning!!
As for the teachers, each day from now on one teacher will write about their day teaching, but for now here are some snid-bits from a few on their first day:
Emily — Hi everyone, Today I travelled by Tuk Tuk to my school in Siem Reap. In the school there are four classrooms and in mine are students ranging from the ages of seven to ten. I am accompanied by a local trainee teacher who assists with translation. The kids are very cute and welcoming however it is obvious that teaching will be a challenge due to the language barrier. Overall, i had a great day meeting new students and teachers and i have already learnt so much about Cambodian culture. I am really looking forward to teaching in the coming weeks!
Amity — Today was our first day teaching, I was put with a smaller class size that will be grade 2 and 5s for the rest of the month. For the afternoon class I played Simon says with the children and was proud as I taught them new words such as chin, thumb, knee Elbow and toes. The children were so beautiful and can’t fortomorrow’s lessons.
Madison — Hey everyone! Today was our first day of teaching. I found out that i will be taking four small classes with six students in each; two year one classes and two year four classes. Today I was able to meet my afternoon year one class. We spent time getting to know Each other and singing songs. We made an origami parrot and then learnt how to pronounce and write the word in English! Can’t wait to see what’s in store for tomorrow!
Kame – Hi guys. Today was our first day at the school in Siem Reap. The children were really friendly and excited to learn from us! I will be in a classroom with kids ages 10-13 who have a higher level of English proficiency. I spent the majority of today getting to know the students as best I could and finding out what they already know. We went over introductions, colors, months of the year, and then played hangman for fun! I am looking forward to teaching as well as learning.
Adele – Today I taught 4 classrooms. Preschool (ages 6-7) and an older group (10-12). The children’s English is very limited, so we taught them basic English, such as, “hi, how are you?” “My name is”, days of the week and months. Super excited to see the students progress!! Lunch was super interesting, and seeing the way they cook and eat as a family was fascinating to say the least.
More blogging from the teaching volunteers to come in the future 🙂
John and Kate + 24 (and assistant Domdin)