Today was good – and bad.(and by today I mean yesterday) It is hard to say that a day spent reading and writing stories of sex trafficking is good. But today was good, because today I know that what I produced was good. I know the fruits of my labor just might save a child from being the next victim of child and sex trafficking. And nothing compares with that feeling.
I'm working at an NGO with an eye focused solely on stopping child and sex trafficking. My job is two-fold: help find new micro-business opportunities for the women in the morning, and in the afternoon I help with the fund-raising and marketing efforts of the overall program. Being privy to the inner operations of this organization is overwhelming and heartwarming. I get to see how hard people work to make this program come together, and I get to see the funds raised and how it is put to work. And I can tell you this- not one cent is wasted.
And now, some completely unrelated pictures of our day to day life here to keep you entertained-
I did my first "load" of laundry this week. See that teeny tiny little stool? I was supposed to sit on it. However, I find Cambodian bums to be much smaller than mine. I fell off of it. The water comes out of the tap on the wall. And the rest you do by hand!
While doing my laundry I discovered we have an amazing terrace/rooftop. Nobody had mentioned it to me before. I predict some nice nights with a good book up here soon.
Dinner! Our meals generally look like this. A huge pot of rice. (I'm so sick of rice. So very very sick of rice.) Vegetables with meat (in this case it looks like seaweed, celery, unidentified thick green veggie, and some beef, a plate of fish that was amazing, and my much despised celery and chicken seasoned with pepper dish. We get that with almost every meal. I hate it. After dinner our house mum always gives us a nice big plate of chilled fruit. i love the pineapple here. It is very different from what we get in the US. And I LOVE jackfruit, which I've never seen Stateside either. We get watermelon regularly too. Interesting fact- I always spit out the seeds. But I've noticed my counterparts (from Australia, Denmark, and Japan) never do. They swallow them.
My Denmark and Japanese dinner companions and friends. They are standing in the kitchen to model for you just how low the counters and sinks are.
Looks like we will be getting lemon grass with dinner tonight. (A most tasteless and chewy veggie that I am not so fond of. I blame it for locking up my insides.)
This will only be of interest to my family. I HATE BANANAS. I NEVER EVER eat bananas. Just the taste and texture is enough to make me gag. I just can't eat them. However, the bananas here look very different and even smell different. I have been eating bananas! Warning- the world just may end tomorrow!
Kara and I on our way to work in our tuk-tuk. This picture just made me realize why the back of my neck is so sunburned.
By Erin McBride
From United State
To understand the significance of visiting the Killing Fields and S-21 you need to know the history of Cambodia. Back in the 1970s there was discontent and a revolution in the country. But the good guys (if there even were good guys) didn't win the fight, and instead the Cambodia Communist Party took over. Their leaders were Pol Pot and a man that came to be known as Duch. We don't know if you pronounced that dutch, duke, or doosh, but we've all decided to call him Douche after learning more about him. Pol Pot and Duch are equal with Hitler in the crimes they have committed against humanity. They are the lowest of the low, and hell isn't even good enough for them. They took over the country, and began rounding up anyone who appeared to be intelligent. This included anyone with an actual education, most storekeepers, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, and inexplicably anyone who wore glasses. Nobody knew what they were doing with them. They just all disappeared.
Right in the middle of Phnom Penh was a high school. The communist army marched in one day, killed everyone
inside, and took over the school. This was your average American sized high school with a few hundred students. And they just marched in and killed all of the unarmed students. The school came to be known as S-21. The army brought all of the “intelligent” people there, calling them all spies, and supposedly interrogated them. Tortured them to death is a more accurate description. Over 3,000 people were taken there to be “interrogated” and only 10 survived. Of the 10, 3 were artists who were forced to make pictures and painting for the army and Pol Pot. One of the artists who escaped went on to paint a series of depictions of what it was like in S21 and out at the killing fields, and the original paintings now hang in S21. The paintings hang in the actual rooms where the torture depicted occurred. And because many of the torture devices were built in the rooms they cannot be removed, and are still in the rooms. You could still see the blood stains on some of the walls, and places where prisoners in the solitary confinement cells had scratched tick marks into the walls. The buildings smell terrible. One classroom was filled with glass shelves holding hundreds of skulls. On many of the skulls you can easily see the hammer marks, nail holes, and other cracks and dents from the torture.
I would easily compare this place to Auschwitz. You can't feel happy there. Just being in the buildings is dark and depressing. There is a terrible feeling about the whole place.
After that we left to go to the “Killing Fields.” I had actually said I had no interest in visiting such an awful place. But when the time came, I went anyway. I'm glad I did now, but still, it was just as horrible as I imagined.
Not unlike how the Nazis rounded up the Jews and killed them, the army did the same thing here. They rounded up people from the slums, the intelligent people, and anyone they felt was not of a pure blood, stripped them naked, forced them into trucks, and drove them to a field 15 km outside of Phnom Penh. Its nothing more than a large field at the edge of a lake or river (I never could tell which). They first made the prisoners dig deep, huge holes. And then made them all go stand down inside the hole, where they shot them. They then covered the holes back up and left. They killed over 300 people a day for 2 years like this. But after a while they had too many people arriving and not enough space left to hide the bodies. So they began torturing the women by taking the babies away from them, and smashing the babies' heads into a tree, forcing the mothers to watch. After the women had then been tortured into submission they forced them to work in the fields, preparing them for the next round of prisoners. This work often involved pouring chemicals over the dead bodies (including their own children) to make them decompose faster. There was one mass gave of over 100 bodies found of women holding their babies' heads. All signs indicate that some of the women had been buried alive. I don't even want to know the rest of the story.
We walked around the killing fields, which really weren't that big, for an hour or so. There is a small museum on-site that we went into and read about everything. Pol Pot died in captivity in the 1980s and was never tried for his crimes. Duch is now about 65 yrs old I think, and has been in prison off and on since the 1980s. (He was in exile for over 10 years.) He was only tried for his crimes in 2009, and was sentenced to a mere 35 years. He did take the credit and blame for the atrocities committed under him, and apologized to the people. Many of the other leaders never did that.
When you look around Cambodia you do notice a missing generation. There are very few old people, and even fewer people between 40-60. And the few people in that age range you do see tend to be very poor and uneducated. Anyone who was educated in that age range would have been killed. These atrocities were committed at the same time as Mom and Dad when they were newlyweds and when Natalie and I were born. If our family had lived in Cambodia we probably all would have been killed. Dad is a lawyer and Mom wears glasses, which is all it would have taken for them to be tortured for supposedly being spies, and then been killed.
When you learn about all of these things it is easier to understand how there can still be such an uneven divide in the wealth of the country, and why there are still so many slums and poor people. You have to understand Buddhism to appreciate the rest. Buddhists believe you are always preparing for the next life. Your gifts to Buddha are more important than your acts to others. So they do not help the poor people around them. They think it is more important to go to the wats and make offerings to Buddha. They would rather put $100 in the donation plate for Buddha than give $5 to a starving person. Combine that mentality with the missing older generation, and the fact that no one has an educated elder to look up to, and you start to understand how they got where they are. The best thing we can do here is give anyone who wants one a better education. Give them a chance to break out of the cycle of poverty. Just 30 years ago their families lost everything- their parents, their homes, their money. Then their country went through a deep depression, and struggled to rebuild. It hasn't been that long but they are making progress.
By Erin McBride
From United State
Is it really possible I have only been here for a week? (That's an in-country week, not starting from when I actually left my home 10 days ago.) I cannot even fathom that. It feels like a lifetime since I left, like everything should have changed. Today I got a good look in the mirror for the first time since arriving here and noticed my hair is getting much blonder from the sun, and my usual “summer” freckles are loud and pronounced. Even the little freckle under my chin that only comes out with my deepest tans and sunburns is visible. I haven't seen that little guy in years.
Life here has taken on a routine and a good familiarity. I'm comfortable and feel like I know what I am doing. I'm ready to stop feeling like even the most mundane task (ahem- laundry) is an adventure. I'm comfortable talking to moto and tuk-tuk drivers, and giving instructions around the city. I know where the preferred expat stores are located.
In other words, I feel like I live here now.
I thought it was about time to share the day to day life and schedule we experience here.
6 am- Wake up to an unforgiving sun, and the noises on the street.
6:30- the alarm clock tells me to pull the pillow off my face and get out of bed
7:15- walk down to the corner shop, “Drink Mart” and pick up something for breakfast. Today it was “jackfruit yogurt.” (It wasn't bad.) Sometimes it is potato chips. What can I say? We're pretty limited down there.
7:45- our drivers all start to arrive to chaperone us all off to our various parts of the city.
9 – complain about the heat to anyone online on the other side of the world
11:30- take the tuk-tuk back to the apartment house for lunch and siesta. Funny fact- everyone I have met either calls it siesta or nap time. No one seems to know what the Khmer word for it is.
12- house mum serves us lunch. I'm pretty sure she is trying to kill me with the three different types of green vegetables she serves with every meal.
1:30- walk down to Drink Mart for a cold Coke, Fanta, or Sprite. ANYTHING as long as it is cold. (Sadly, they do not have Coca Light.)
1:45- ride back to work
3- get online and complain about the heat again
4- the little kids get out of school next door and start sneaking into my room to look at me. Tomorrow I'm taking a bag of candy to give them. I'm pretty sure this will have the exact opposite effect I am hoping for and we'll have a forced tradition on our hands.
5- the tuk-tuk comes back for me. Try not to doze off in traffic. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't.
5:30- Home! Oh my blessed air conditioned room! Crash on the bed for a few minutes until I convince myself that a shower would solve all of my problems. Possibly look in the mirror for the first time. Realize I managed to go a whole day without brushing my hair.
6- Shower. It took me way too long to figure out that the water source is on the roof, and gets heated by the sun all day. Water in the morning= FREEZING. Water in the evening- lukewarm and just perfect.
6:30- Continue to sit on my bed exhausted, wondering why I can't go to dinner naked.
7- Dinner with my housemate, and the girls from a different building. We usually chat about what we did at work. The Aussies discuss the various plans they have for getting drunk. Curse the green vegetables and rice. Do you have any idea what this does to your bowels?
8- Our evening activities vary. Usually the girls from the various apartments get together to relax and do something. We may go for a walk (back to Drink Mart- we're big fans, can you tell?), watch bootlegged DVDs, or find a tuk-tuk and go to a store. Some nights I end up back in my room working. I find that I get a ton more work done in the quiet, air-conditioned solace of my room than I do in the oppressively hot, loud, noisy, and craziness of my office. I'm only here for one month, and I have a ton to do. And I really want to get everything done for them and I want to do a good job.
9:30- Crash land in my room. Take a few minutes for personal writing, blogging, reading, praying, etc.
10- Put the ear plugs in and sleep. On the nights I just can't fall asleep I watch some downloaded iTunes TV eps.
6 am comes very early.
By Erin McBride
From United State
So far, so good here in Cambodia. I've been “inducted” into Projects Abroad, and given a short tour of the city. I'm meeting lots of interesting other volunteers/interns. I am noticing a few common themes throughout the group- many of us are here to change paths. Most of us have a job and a life, but want to be doing more with our lives. I suppose I'll have a lot more to say on that subject in a few days.
Phnom Penh hasn't surprised me too much. It is like most cities I have seen in developing countries. The rules of the roads are more suggestions than rules. There are stray dogs and cats (but not many) in the streets). And the white girl sticks out like a sore thumb.
There just isn't much to report on life here yet. But here's a few pictures from my “tuk tuk” tour around town. (“Tuk tuk” is a motorcycle pulled/powered cart. If I wasn't so tired I'd remember the Chinese word for a man pushed cart that people sit in. Feel free to remind me what I'm trying to say.)
The obligatory “before” picture! Dulles Airport, before I lost my gray headband. I miss that headband.
Me and my helmet! We are required to wear these on the motors. And motors are our main form of transportation. (I had to try on all 15 helmets to find one that fits my ginormous noggin.)
Speaking of motos... Motos are to Phnom Penh what yellow cabs are to New York City.
One family per motor, please! How many people do you count on this motor? Let's see, there is the little one in the front with the red hat, then father. Next you will notice black pants indicating another child behind the dad, and if you look closely you will see a baby in that person's arms. And then there is the mom holding the pink basket on the end. One motor= 5 people!
Most motors aren't carrying 5 people. But it is quite common to see 3 people on one. Most women do ride “side saddle” I have noticed. I'll take my first (of many) motor ride tomorrow. I admit, I'm a bit nervous!
This is the story of the time I didn't get to mess with the missionaries' heads. Also, it is all the proof I need that my tuk-tuk driver is the slowest driver in the world.
First, the background. All volunteers have an assigned or dedicated driver to take them to work each day. Most of my comrades have a “moto” driver. The motos are neither motorcycles or scooters, but somewhere in the middle, and we simply call them motos. The other volunteers all sit on the back of a moto, wearing a helmet, and get whisked around town. But since there are two of us going to my “placement” (our word for the orphanage/school/newspaper/NGO we have been assigned to), we get to take a “tuk-tuk.” As I have explained before, I think, a tuk-tuk is basically a moto driven rickshaw. On the brightside, we don't have to wear helmets, and therefore don't have helmet hair all day. On the downside, our driver is SLOW, and there is a seriously lack of padding and shocks in that contraption!
Oh and have I mentioned it is being held together by a water bottle? Need proof? Here's the picture.
I have noticed that the water bottle changes every few days. When your safety depends upon that water bottle, you notice these things.
Our route to and from the placement takes us through a somewhat sketchy area. Having now seen the real slums, I can say that we are not actually in the slums. We are the precursor the slums. Nonetheless, the sight of two white girls in a tuk-tuk, especially a slow moving tuk-tuk, is pretty interesting to many passersby, and we get a lot, and I do mean A LOT, of honks. But to be honest, I don't think they are honking at the girls. They are honking because our driver is so SLOW!!
This afternoon as we were passing through the sketchy area during rush hour, where the roads are clogged with tuk-tuks, motos, bicycles, and actual cars, I suddenly noticed something odd in the sea of bikes and motos ahead of me- American bicycle helmets. You just don't see that here. No one wears bike helmets! And bike helmets look nothing like the moto helmets. I couldn't help but see them. And that's when I noticed the white shirts, dark pants, and more noticeably, dress shoes. (No one wears real shoes here. Its flip flops or sandals. Never dress shoes!) We were about 20 feet behind them, but I knew they had to be Mormon missionaries. Missionaries look like missionaries, even in the slums of Cambodia.
I got all excited to yell, “Hey Elder!” (because that's what we do, right?) at them as we approached them. But that dang driver of ours! Nothing was between us and the Elders, but he drives so slow we couldn't catch up to them! We are in a motorized vehicle and they are on pedal bikes, and we couldn't catch up to them. So pathetic! Of course, within seconds the sea of motos and bikes filled the gap between us, honking at us as they sped around our slow-moving vehicle, and the elders disappeared into the tide of traffic.
Dang it all! Well, maybe I'll see them some other time. How will anyone ever know I'm a nice Mormon girl if I don't yell, “Hey Elder” at passing missionaries?
If you want to visit Asia for the first time, Cambodia is the perfect place to start. You won’t regret it.
That is what happened to me. For a long time I wanted to go and visit Asia, but where to start in such a vast continent? I wanted to visit a country not overcrowded by tourists, with an ancient culture to explore. As an archaeologist, it is a dream to go and visit the temple-ruins of Angkor Wat, with the other surrounding temples, and therefore I choose Cambodia; but how to encounter the local people and learn about Cambodian culture? I contacted Project Abroad to find a placement for me, where I could interact with local people, following their daily life.
My idea was to do some volunteer work at the temples, learning of the local techniques of doing archaeology. But it is not possible at the moment. So I got into a whole new discipline for my personal experience: working at an orphanage. I worked for one month within the Care Project, playing with almost a hundred kids of ages from 2 to 24 years. As I never worked in a kindergarten before, and I don’t have kids at home, I experienced a whole new side of my personality, by observing the world of children.
I also experienced how important it is to make a good and happy life for children who had lost their parents, or had a difficult childhood. Knowing the cruel past Cambodia went through nearly 30 years ago, I found out how fast and efficient the people of Cambodia are developing: all kids could communicate in English especially the older ones, who helped teach English to the “mothers” of the children with us. There are 12 women working at the orphanage in administration, cooking, and taking care of all children, but they have difficulties in communicating with the volunteers.
There were 3 volunteers from Projects Abroad working in this particular orphanage: Duncan from Australia, Jillian from Canada, and me. Our day started early in the morning taking an hour ride with the local “tuk-tuk” transport. Our only responsibility was to teach English to the mothers, after lunch. The rest of the time we spent it following some of the children in their activities, or doing practical things in the area such as cleaning the garden of trash, or helping plant fruit trees. The children played local games I didn’t know, such as the “throw-and-catch-a-stick game”. But I found out that many street-games I had as a child, the kids also played here in Cambodia. So, they taught us their games while playing with them. The older kids went to school, where we met them in the afternoon. We sat and talked to them and exchanged music songs, favorite sport games, dreams for the future, and had wonderful discussions of cultural differences.
The kids are quite modern, with their cell phones, singing all the known music of Lady Gaga and Jay Lo (even though some of them didn’t understand English). In the beginning it was difficult to find something from my culture to show them. The best volunteer work is just to pay them attention and talk to them. However, I managed to show them something different from their culture. I played the tambourine for them, and they liked it! They probably still remember the songs I played for them. These songs are from the “capoeira fight-dance” I learned in Denmark some years ago, and I was glad to see a positive response of showing them some different songs and sport. As they were interested in these activities, they probably will learn something similar one day. Especially the small kids were crazy about performing the “capoeira fight-dance”, and they were very good at performing the difficult acrobatic movements.
I also had the opportunity to meet students from Singapore and South Korea. The orphanage organization called UNCAS (Unaccompanied Association) have different contacts with international institutions, which are all here to support and help in making a better place for the kids. With the Singaporean students, I even had the opportunity to go further into the countryside and helped build a house for the simple villagers, where they still do not have electricity.
Cambodia is a country with an ancient culture, which is still alive. The Angkorean culture developed in the same period as the Vikings from Denmark. But Danish life today is much different than the lifestyle of the Vikings. Whereas Cambodian people still follow the same cultural traditions as music and dance, and religion, which make it a rich living culture from the times of Angkor Wat.
Traveling in Cambodia is cheap and easy. I only met young people and backpackers traveling like tourists. There is still a lot of development going on in all sectors of the country, especially tourism. But, compared to neighboring countries, you still meet the local people as how they live, not yet influenced by commercial tourism. I went to Vietnam and Thailand, and still feel Cambodians are the nicest people I have met, always with a great smile and ready to help the foreigner whatever the reason.
I will highly recommend people experience Cambodia and interact with its people, as they are very friendly and give you a positive impulse into your life.
Svend A Buus
Care Project in 2011
It is a kind of traditional food, mostly made by the local people; somehow you can find it around the local market, not a supermarket in Cambodia. But if you are outside of Cambodia, let’s try to make it at home using the directions below J.
Here are the ingredients you need:
And how to make it:
1- Mix rice, flour and water, then add coconut crème and stir it many times to make a good mixture.
2- Chop onion leafs into 0.5cm and add to the flour mixture.
3- Put the mixture in the pot and wait until it is cooked well and serve it with the sauce
4- For making sauce: Boil the water and then wait until it is cool. Add salt and sugar to taste as you like. Then, add the chopped chili and a little bit of coconut crème.
I am so incredibly excited to be going back to Cambodia this November with Projects Abroad.
In November last year I undertook a one month CARE placement at Sacrifice Families and Orphans Development Association (SFODA), and had such an awesome time. I was made to feel so at home with Projects Abroad, with such a strong volunteer community, and met so many amazing people from all over the world. Whilst I loved the social side of my trip and did a lot of sightseeing, the orphanage was my far the highlight of my experience. Having just finished a Bachelor of International Development, it was really good for me to have a firsthand experience of life in a Third World Country. One thing that surprised me was how happy all the children at SFODA were, and how good I felt walking into the orphanage each day and being greeted by so many happy faces. I have thought about these children, as well as the amazing people that I shared my experience with, every day since I have left, and cannot express how happy I am to be going back to Cambodia.
Whatever the reason you decide to volunteer, volunteering with Projects Abroad is by far the most eye-opening an educational, yet extremely rewarding experience of my life. I couldn't recommend it enough and look forward to seeing everyone in a couple of months,
Adele Hayes x
As I walked out of Phnom Penh International Airport dozens of Tuk Tuk drivers yelled “Hello Lady!”, “Where you going?” and “OK, come this way!” luckily to the left there was a tall, slim man named Chammy holding a ‘Projects Abroad’ sign. The rest happened very quickly and before I knew it we were in a car cruising down a main street with swarms of Moto drivers weaving around each other all using ‘beeping’ as there form of saying “hey don’t come to the left because I am mere centimetres from you”! I have no idea what I had expected Cambodia to look like but I was definitely in awe of my new surroundings on the way to the apartments. It wasn’t until leaving the car that I began to notice the heat, a steaming 38 degrees! I’m not sure why but the heat was bearable considering that the mercury was reading so high. I came at an unusual time of year for Cambodia in that it was to be the Khmer New Year a few days after my arrival. As basically all the Cambodian people return home to the Provinces to celebrate, the orphanage I was due to start at was closed. Initially I was disappointed but this ended up working out quite well as within a couple of hours I had already been invited by fellow volunteers to accompany them to Siem Reap to see the extraordinary Angkor Wat and the floating village. I had not planned to travel at all during my time in Cambodia and had in fact not even allowed myself extra time at the end of my placement. Much to my surprise and excitement many of my weekends to come would be spent away at different places in Cambodia. This included such places as a beautiful little island off Kep, as well as the pepper fields,
caves and trekking through a rainforest in Bokor National Park all situated in the Kampot area. Obviously eating, sleeping and just generally living in the same apartments as people means that you get to know everyone fairly quickly, which is a fantastic aspect of the set-up of Projects Abroad. As there are no set dates for arrival or departure, people are always coming and going which allows you to meet and share stories with other volunteers from all over the world. In a way you become a bit of a family, spending many nights watching movies together, late night venturing for dessert and travelling together on weekends. Throughout my two months I had many different experiences depending on who I was around as there can be quite a broad age group, during my time it ranged from a 17 year old French guy to a close-to-forty year old German lady. My project and life in general was significantly affected (or rather enlightened) by the people of Cambodia. For a country that has experienced so much pain in recent times the people are so open and friendly. Just walking down the street you will undoubtedly be greeted by people as you walk past, along with some of the biggest grins you’ll ever see. This general acceptance and positivity from people makes it nearly impossible to feel lonely. Cambodian people are also always eager to try out their English on you and if all else fails they will just play charades with you! Having said that, you must be careful when asking a Moto driver to take you somewhere in case he does actually know the place; often they will say “yes” because they don’t want to lose the customer but you will find yourself attempting to direct them. I found that one out the hard way! Not every aspect of Cambodia has been easy. I came here looking for a challenge and I definitely got one. My placement was at an orphanage by the name of Children and Poor Communities Development Organisation (CPCDO), many of the children do in fact have families but they are from the Provinces and are too poor to look after them. At CPCDO there are 55 children of whom 5 are classified babies and 1 child is mental and physically disabled. They range in age from a couple of months to a 20 year old. My first few days at the CPCDO were very difficult, best described as a huge cultural shock. There was little structure and even less hygiene. Initially I began to question how I was going to be able to do this, then after an inspirational conversation with my Dad I realised this was exactly what I came here to do so it became a matter of where to start. After communicating with the Projects Abroad staff, namely a very pro-active man named Sophan, Projects Abroad Coordinator, it was agreed that we would have one hour of classes in the morning and afternoon teaching English. The children were eager to learn and whilst the first week or so it was somewhat hard to keep their attention, they began to adjust to this new schedule. The next item on the agenda was hygiene; this was down to a matter of setting a trend. Once all the children saw one child washing with soap it got adopted by all the kids. This also went for de-licing, during class I often noticed kids scratching so it was off to the pharmacy to buy some de-licing shampoo, combs and conditioner. Throughout my time I became somewhat of professional at applying the shampoo, then the conditioner and combing out the lice as well as the eggs (the conditioner helps to make the hair slippery so they can’t hold on). After attending at ‘teeth cleaning day’ at another volunteer’s school, I asked the Projects Abroad staff if CPCDO might also organise something similar. The lovely Seang (Projects Abroad Social Events Co-ordinator) was, as always, willing to help and came to the orphanage to explain to the children how to brush their teeth as well as the importance of dental hygiene. Each of the children were given a tooth brush and toothpaste which they promptly began using. One of the hardest things to deal with at CPCDO was that I felt 3 of the kids were not looked after well by the nannies; two of them were under 3 years old and the other was the girl with the disability. Quite often this meant changing soiled clothing that the children had been left in, sometimes despite being obviously distressed. I also made it a priority to wash them each day, otherwise it appeared the nannies would not do so. On top of the physical neglect, I found it important to make sure I spent time with these children just playing with and cuddling them, which they really seemed to appreciate and crave. I had a few conversations with Projects Abroad staff members who were very helpful and really assisted me in understanding how the nannies could mistreat them so. It was explained that these people have no training and are paid very little therefore they have no motivation to take better care of the children. I found this very unfortunate but I believe through them seeing what we would do with the children they also picked up their game slightly. All in all my time in Cambodia was definitely life changing and I hope, above all, for the children. I will, without a doubt, come back sometime in the near future to see how CPCDO is getting on and hopefully they will have kept going with the new structure. As a 19 year old on somewhat of a gap year, I never imagined I would become so clucky about the children but it really does fill you with pride when they use things you have taught them. I also could never have imagined how attached I would become to these little souls that are so appreciative and awestruck when you give them something as simple as a pencil or reading book. I am grateful to my fellow volunteers, the Projects Abroad staff and, most importantly, to the people of Cambodia who have made my 2 month trip such an incredible experience. From Kirsten Freeth Australia Care project
26th August, a big group of volunteers and staff had a dinner party at Kalub Svay99 restaurant. The party was organized and subsidized by Projects Abroad and we celebrate it every the end of the month. It was not only the dinner party but the farewell party because a lot of volunteers’ departure date was the day after the dinner day. And once I wrote this blog, they already arrived home safely. Miss you all.
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