In August, Dirty Weekend is one of the social events for being together for an extra voluntary work. On 20-Aug-2011 at 8am, all participants met at apartment 1 and left to the placement which is called Asia’s Hope school for purposely to paint the gate wall.
The placement is quite far from the apartment which we spent about 40 minutes to arrive. Once we arrived, the volunteers were told the plan to achieve. For from 9am until 3:00pm, with an hour for lunch break, we successful paint all the target walls. It was wonderful.
I would like to say many thanks for all you contributions and participates. That was impossible to make it happen without your help.
Sharon Carroll is from Australia and she is a Pro-Volunteer in Cambodia who is acting at a Nurse at the hospital. She has applied to volunteer for five months in Cambodia; until today there are two and half months pass away. As she told me, it goes by so fast but she enjoys working at the hospital and for her free time she also goes to slum.
Having heard the Medical checkup at Home of Hope Sharon would like to see how it works and what she can help the local doctor. There was another volunteer, Claudia Gfeller would like to accompany with Sharon to the place. Both of them helped the local doctor to measure the blood pressure and glucose for patients. It was a great day for them to experience this.
Now I am back at home in England after my experience in Cambodia which was absolutely amazing to see the different culture and how people live, and so rewarding working with the children.
I worked at Home of Hope in the morning and Home of Peace in the afternoon, the children were so cute and I thoroughly enjoyed playing with them. Before I visited Cambodia back at home I bought a lot of things bubbles, stickers, colored paper, pencils and coloring pencils, glue and skipping ropes etc. Giving these things to the children felt amazing to see there smiles on their faces, (they all especially love bubbles and stickers!). The last day working at the orphanages we had a little party and bought them cakes and fizzy drinks, the children got so excited and absolutely loved this. The days went so fast as we played lots of games with them basketball, football, catch etc. Leaving the children was very sad; although it was for only 2 weeks you became very attached to some of them. While I was there I remember just sitting there at lunch and thinking how people live like this with nothing and still are so incredibly happy and cheerful, everybody was friendly also. It makes you realise what you have back at home and how much we should appreciate the smallest things, also not worrying about situations which are actually nothing compared to what some people have been through in Cambodia
Not just working at the orphanages made the trip amazing, some of the people I met which I will continue to
keep in contact with and seeing the local area. At the weekend I visited Siem Reap to look at the temples, also seeing the sunset. Siem Reap was a lovely place and a lot more touristy than Phnom Penh, I highly recommend visiting this place. I would love to visit back to Cambodia also to visit the orphanages which I worked at for the 2 weeks; it’s such an amazing and a eye-opening experience.
2 Special in July 2011-08-10
In Cambodia destination, in July we have two volunteers of Care& Communication 2 week special. Their name is Rachael Parker, 17 year old from United Kingdom and Vivian Young, 18 year old from United State. It is already two week and they left back to home with unforgettable memories in Cambodia
There are many special plans for them to do such as taking care of kids at orphanage, playing with them, drawing picture on placement’s wall, trip to ancient temple and so on. Besides the plan, they always free at night time, so before leaving, I took them to experience the shadow puppet at Sovanna Pchum Association. The performance was from 7:30pm to 8:30pm and it was performance by the Cambodian art students. It was interesting and it also was interested by our two week special volunteers. That is a part of their time.
Please read the next blog – the writing from Rachael Parker expressing her interest.
Today at 23:20, two of our volunteers will flight from Cambodia to home. They are so sad to leave everyone at the apartment, their placement and the kids. But tonight before leaving they suggeted to our cook to make Chicken Curry for their dinner as they like it. And, it is the last dinner for them in Cambodia.
We would like to thank both of them that they have volunteered for one month. Many thanks and wish you a safe trip to home.
The picture is about Corrie and Samantha and our cook, They bought the flower and gave it to our cook, it is represent that they love her:).
Hello, my name is Courtney and I recently returned to Australia after completing a care placement in Cambodia. I ended up extending my trip to be 4 months in total because I was having an amazing time and it was flying by so quickly.
I worked at the National Borey For Infants and Children (NBIC), a large government funded orphanage with a majority of disabled children. I was lucky that another volunteer, Beate was there when I first began because I was nervous and the staff speak very little English, so I just followed her around on my first day, working in the section for malnourished children. It was a little bit shocking at first how disabled some of the children are. Some are teenagers but are tiny and their legs are literally skin and bone. My first job was to feed a 12 year old girl, Meykea. I couldn’t sit her up as her spine is too stiff, she can only move her head and arms a little bit and as she can’t digest very well she began coughing, gurgling and crying. I wasn’t sure if that is what normally happens or if I should stop. The staff continued feeding their kids and didn’t pay any attention, so I just slowed down a lot and when the others had finished one came to help me. The next few times I fed her it went a lot better. At first I was also nervous changing her and carrying her as her legs are so skinny and difficult to move, making me worried they would snap or something!
I felt like I was in the way my first few days because I fed the children so much slower and messier than their carers’. However it didn’t take too long to settle into the routine and learn the staff and children’s names and what care is required for each individual. Every day we would carry or wheel the children to the play area after they had been fed, then we would massage/moisturise them, and stimulate their senses by playing and singing. I tried to divide my time between three different sections of the orphanage because I loved and became attached to them all. The other upstairs section had less disabled children than the malnourished section and we could do more activities with them, and downstairs had some older teenagers and adults. It could be difficult to discover what each child likes because they don’t show much response and most cannot talk, so the best part of my job was learning how to make each of them happy. As the children follow the same schedule everyday and don’t experience new things often, a few highlights while I was there included their big Christmas party and excursions to the water-park and beach. I admire all the carers at the orphanage very much because while they have a tough job and work long hours for very little money, they are always so joyful while singing, dancing and being silly for the kids.
I decided to try working at a different placement in my last month, so taught English to grade 1, 2 and 3 at Our Home in the afternoons while continuing to work at the NBIC in the mornings. I was very nervous beforehand because I had never taught before, but it wasn’t too bad after a few lessons and the kids were really sweet and welcoming. By the time I had settled into teaching it was almost time for me to leave, so I wished that I had started teaching earlier in order to see them progress. One of my favourite days was when I took my students to the water-park, with the help of other volunteers to supervise. Since I’m just like a kid myself I had the best time ever, running around, swimming and going down the waterslides all day, and the kids seemed to have a lot of fun too!
I was very nervous before coming, particularly about not being good at my work tasks but also about not having anyone to sightsee with and of being too scared to go outside the apartment other than for work! I figured this wouldn’t matter too much as my main reason for volunteering was to try and help people less fortunate than myself. I was relieved though and had no need to be nervous beforehand because all the other volunteers were so nice and there was always somebody to do things with. There are always volunteers that have been there longer to help the new ones settle in and the friendly Projects Abroad staff are always willing to help you if you need it. After settling in I actually sometimes enjoyed travelling on my own anyway. All the numerous activities outside of work ended up making this trip the best time of my life!
There are so many different sides of Cambodia so I recommend seeing as much of the country as possible in your time off including the very sad and horrific Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the slums, smaller villages outside of the city and the other volunteers placements, perhaps for dirty weekend, because they are all so different from each other and there is so much to learn about Cambodia. There many beautiful sights throughout the country with some highlights from my travels including spending a relaxing day swimming and exploring on Rabbit Island, trekking on Bokor Mountain and being blown away by the view from the top and also cycling around the magnificent, ancient temples in Siem Reap. My favourite temple was Beng Melear, a couple of hours outside of Siem Reap, which has been overgrown by jungle making climbing through it surreal and breathtaking.
After extending my trip I was able to take time off work and travelled for one week with a couple of friends to Ratanakiri, Kratie and Kampong Cham. We saw beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, minority village and did a home-stay in the countryside. My week off was wonderful but I was surprised that I started to miss my new home in Phnom Penh while I was gone. Life at the apartments was very comfortable indeed thanks to our cooks and cleaners, with delicious food for lunch and dinner everyday. Also there were heaps of DVDs and books to choose from and many fun times spent together with the other volunteers on the apartment roof.
I hope and wish that I was able to help in some way by volunteering however I cannot know, but I definitely know that I personally gained so much and am very grateful and owe Cambodia for that. I met many new friends from all over the world of all different ages. I have gained confidence, social skills, independence, a new perspective on life, more appreciation, wonder, open mindedness not to mention having the best fun ever! Saying goodbye was very difficult after so long, because you quickly become attached to the children, people, culture and your new life here. I found the Cambodian people to be very welcoming, kind, friendly and happy. I hope to visit again one day.
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