To continue from Day Seven Reflection blogging of the Ivanhoe Grammar School Cambodia Service Project 2023, this article reposting the reflections from the assigned students on their Day EIGHT experiences and impressions:
Day 8, Team 2. Distributed books at Peak Sneng primary school; provided prescription eye glasses to the local health centre; participated in noodle making workshop; drove back and had dinner in Siem Reap.
Team Three Friday 24th by Tash
Today we spent our last day in the village. Our day began with a delicious breakfast of eggs, fruits, rice and vegetables. We taught our last classes today, with shapes, colours, animals, foods and songs amongst some of the favourite lessons taught.
It was a bit more of a challenge as we were teaching kids we had never met before, who all had very different levels and understandings of English. Luckily we all pushed through and took onboard the challenge by ensuring every child was understanding each concept. The kids especially enjoyed the story books, as they could follow along with the words being read to them and identify different objects they had learned through the pictures. Many of the kids were also teaching us some Khmer, whether that be numbers, animals or body parts!
After teaching it was time for a filling lunch. Spring and rice paper rolls were certainly the favourites among the unique foods provided for us. It was then time to pack up our sleeping equipment, including our beds and mosquito nets, before cleaning and sweeping the entire house down to ensure we left it as clean as possible.
Sadly, we had to say goodbye to our friends at the village and headed back on the bus to our hotel. We left feeling incredibly grateful for the opportunity we had to experience life in the village, the friendships we created and the unique lifestyle, however also for air conditioning, fans, and proper toilets.
After some very much needed showers and pool visits, we headed to a pizza and pasta restaurant for dinner. Margaritas, Hawaiian’s, and Carbonara’s were amongst the mix of foods we ate. Although we have been enjoying the Cambodian cuisine, it was nice to have something other than rice for a change and eat some more westernised foods. Once we left the restaurant we headed to the streets of Cambodia and looked at the large variety of shops on display. Then after a quick stop to Seven-Eleven for some slurpies, we finally went back to the hotel after a very long day.
We then ended the night by debriefing the days events and planning our day for tomorrow, which includes some optional tours and experiences. Some of the group went up to the pool for a nice and relaxing swim to finish the night off. Overall, the village has been an amazing experience and we are so thankful and grateful that we were lucky enough to have stayed in the village and will cherish the experience for years to come.
Edward Redlich Village Experience Reflection – Team 4
Team 4’s three night stay at the Char Kroam village was an unforgettable experience for the 29 students and 4 staff who embraced many aspects of village life.
Upon arrival we were greeted by the exuberance of classes of Char Kroam primary students, eager to engage with us, despite a language barrier. It was these students that we would get to know well over the next days, teaching them during the day and living around them after hours. In our 8 teaching groups we taught specific classes for approximately 3 teaching sessions. The Cambodian students were keen to learn and engage, despite some communication struggles along the way. It was these struggles to communicate in the classroom that built stronger bonds with the students in the end, as we persevered and experienced that mutual click of understanding and communication. Some of the most memorable moments with the students include a communal singing of the Beatles: “Hey Jude”, class dances to the “Macarena” and playing with the colourful parachute.
Aside from teaching, team 4 experienced much of what Char Kroam village life is like for locals. Activities that promoted this included: cast net fishing, painting the local bridge, picking veggies, tractor rides to see the local fields, playing causal ball games with local kids and more. We also helped out with some building, with a number of students shovelling and lugging sand on a particularly oppressively hot afternoon.
It would be remiss not to note the hard work of those locals who so kindly looked after us. Our meals were a wonderful taste of local Cambodian cuisine and we were made to feel warmly welcome.
Ultimately the 4 day 3 night village stay was an exceptional opportunity for group 4 students and teachers alike to experience life in a rural Cambodian village. Simultaneously it allowed members to ingrain themselves into a community where we could work closely with students, exposing them to fluent English speakers.
We look forward to returning to Char Kroam on Wednesday for the official opening of their new classroom and a final, and no doubt sad goodbye.
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