The adventures never end and life is never dull here! From painting walls one day (with a range of ingenious painting implements that allowed us to reach very high corners) to driving out to a little village school and then watching a sunset over the ocean; 'boredom' has disappeared from my vocabulary!
The village school trip was an experience I hope to never forget. The trip out required a bulldozer and grader to drive in front of us to make the road easily passable and as we rocked back and forth on the potholed/ nonexistent roads, picturesque scenery bobbed and dipped in perfect unison.
Upon arriving at the little school, we first toured the premises, consisting of 5 rooms, one of which was where the teachers (all 4 of them) lived. If teachers in Australia complain, they know nothing of the hard life of being a dedicated teacher- the teachers here earn half of the minimum wage, sitting them almost at the poverty line and they live at the school in very poor conditions- now that's dedication!! The children are so respectful of their teachers though and it is a respectable position within the community. Kamai (Cambodian language) is incredibly difficult (we have had a lesson and it is very hard!!) but the children were so enthusiastic as they recited their alphabet and read the characters. We tried to teach some of them the English alphabet and then we played tunnel ball and another game which I didn't understand the rules of- it looked like a combination if volleyball, soccer, basketball and rugby- essentially it was one group of kids chasing another group with lots
of squealing and laughing! A group of students from the Milk and Honey school organised the trip and ran most of it which was really good to see, I enjoyed standing back and taking photos of the kids and making friends with them. At first they were very shy, but they quickly warmed up to us and loved seeing photos of themselves!! The smiles of those children are probably my highlight thus far.
On the way back from the village we stopped for lunch with a twist- we had to go fishing to catch our own lunch!! I wasn't too keen on the idea of fishing (being a vegetarian and all) but it was too hard to mime that I didn't eat meat so I dangled a pole in the water and of course, Murphy's Law, when you don't want to catch anything, something bites!! I squealed and screamed as the poor little fish writhed until thankfully I was rescued and could bow out of the fishing exercise with a small amount of dignity intact! Although our fish was served for lunch, vegetables and rice were also served so I was saved from having to face the fish again!
We came back into town to run a few errands- sorting out some uniforms for the kindy kids at the Milk and Honey school, getting some meat for all the non-vegetarians and braving the town traffic provided ample entertainment until it was dinner time. Tonight we were in for a treat with watching the sun set over the ocean while we ate, with the sounds of waves lapping on the shore.
The drive home from dinner was a little more challenging as we went through some of the more dangerous and seedy parts of town- this area has one of the highest percentages of child trafficking in this part of the world and the contrast between the beautiful beaches and islands and the degradation of humanity is sickening.
Yet again I have rambled on, and all of this was just one day!! I will never be able to settle into 'normal' life at the rate I'm going here. This place has a way of getting under your skin and grabbing your heart- I have a feeling I'm going to find it hard to leave when the time comes, but for now, I intend to keep my eyes open and learn and grow as much as possible.