Monday 24th June 2014
Today the whole group was finally united. Together we will work at Cro Bei Riel on the Village Development Program for the next week. We are quite an eclectic group: Emily, Alex, Bec, Ellie, Helene, Leah, Miranda, Ashley and Courtney from Canada, Autumn, Shawn, Lisa, Sam and Jena from the States, Sarah, Izzy, George, Ollie and Scott from England, Laura and Katie from Scotland and Phoi, Roya, Eleni, Glen, and Jamie from Australia plus of course the two Team Leaders, John from America and myself (Jane) from Australia.
Early this morning we headed out to the village of Cro Bei Riel in a convoy of tuk tuk’s. Our host Sambaht showed us around the village and told us the inspiring history of the self-help community that he has created there. The village has been set up to provide education and a higher standard of living to the people of the surrounding communities, especially the youth from nearby villages and beyond. They also all have a love of “Imagine” by John Lennon (who doesn’t?) and after the introduction tour we all held hands and had a singalong. After this we broke into groups and made lunch with the help of some lovely, chirpy local high school kids. In the afternoon half of the group were Team Manual Labour, working on the construction project in the village and the other half were Team Educate, rotating around various jobs including English practice, drawing, dance class, small maintenance on community houses and games. At the end of the day everyone found extra energy to get involved with games of basketball or soccer with the kids. I can tell already this is going to be a very fun week!
After work this afternoon we went to Route 60 a fun, loud, colourful but also somewhat sketchy Khmer carnival. Much fun was had by all throwing darts at balloons, shooting B.B.’s at dolls and crashing around in bumper cars (although carefully avoiding the floor which will deliver a bit of an electric jolt if you step on it at the wrong time).
We then headed back into town for dinner and then had a casual stroll around the night markets. After a full day of fun in the sun the jetlag and general fatigue began to catch up. A few of the more enthusiastic members of the group carried on to watch the soccer while the rest of us slink off to bed. Tomorrow will be another action packed day at the village!