Puppet Theatre in which Khmer Language call ''Lakhaon Sbeak'' It was very famous from Ankor era to 1970 century. Because of the Khmer Rouge period in 1970 1975, this kind of show was not popular.
Fortunately, next generation in Cambodia still conservate their own culture and Puppet show is also one among those culture. For example, Sovanna Phum Association, has created its own association to make a puppet and also play to puppet show every Friday and Saturday at its own placement from 7:30pm to 8:30pm . Last week, On Friday, I went there alone to watch the show. There are quite a lot of foreigners joins this performance and also to local people. There were two story, one about The Young Widow and the other one about The Donkey And Dog. It was good and fun since they said Khmer and English language togehter, otherwise the foreigners might not be able to understand the story. For two stories it takes one hours to finished both.
That is a good show, I have told the volunteers about that, they interesed in the Puppet show and may spend sometime all together to see it. And hope they will like it.
I decided to embark on my trip to Cambodia as I thought volunteering would be a fun way to experience a new place, give something back to the people and make new friends. I wasn’t disappointed with any of my trip and would strongly advise anyone considering volunteering with Projects Abroad to definitely jump in and enjoy your memorable experience, surrounded by friendly and supportive staff at each step! The night before my departure my friend phoned in a slight panic to confirm that she had everything that she needed for the trip and we were ready for our trip. However, on our way to the airport I discovered that she had in fact lost her Cambodia book, not brought a raincoat or any waterproof shoes. Not the best preparation as we were heading to Cambodia in monsoon season for one month!! It could only get better from there… We arrived very tired at Phnom Penh airport and were greeted by the friendly face of Chamroeun who ushered us into a lovely air-conditioned car, which was welcomed as the temperature was already 31°C at 10am in the morning! After being shown our apartment and room we were left to unwind and settle in.
The following morning we made ourselves a breakfast of coconut bread and jam and were collected for our induction of the city and our placement. The induction was given by a very energetic and bubbly member of the Projects Abroad staff called Sophan who answered all of our questions about life in our new home and gave us background on Cambodian culture. This was followed by our first proper look at Phnom Penh and Cambodia, whizzing along the streets in a tuk tuk for a guided tour of the highlights of the city.
However, by the end of the tour I was still lost and hoping that the map and phone numbers of all the staff would come in handy when we had to venture out alone! Later on that day we met the Director of the Cambodian Projects Abroad, who was extremely friendly and keen to hear if we were settling in alright. We then headed to our placement which was called Riverkids, run by Mr Sophon who explained to us that the aim of the project was to help vulnerable children from the slum areas of Phnom Penh return to education so that they could hopefully re-enter state education and potentially higher education, breaking the cycle of poverty and illiteracy and improving life for their whole family. Riverkids aimed to do this by providing support to the women in the families by way of training them in a skill such as sewing, waitressing or jewellery making so that they could gain employment allowing the children in the family to attend school.
All of the families helped by Riverkids were classed as vulnerable which meant that the children would be at risk of trafficking, violence or drug abuse in the home. Riverkids had a team of social workers and a nurse who would go out to the homes of the families living within the slums and assess their situation and provide medical care and food. The families would then be encouraged to join in the scheme at Riverkids to ensure that their children would begin to get an education.
As my background is science I was told that my placement would be to help with the micro business aspect of Riverkids in the morning and to teach English to the children in the afternoon. My friend who has a social care background was asked to help out the social workers, giving advice on how to update their assessment forms and how to perform suitable assessments of the families living in the slums. My friend was also keen to work with the children so as a result we taught the children together in the afternoons.
First day of placement! We were excited and a little bit nervous; we were collected in the morning by our friendly and reliable tuk tuk driver named Kimhay who took us off to the office where I met the friendly girls who I would spend most of my time with named Sinoy and Pheakadey. They were really helpful and welcoming and gave me background into how the micro-business worked. I then got started on helping to write a funding proposal for a new project for 5 women from the slums to start their own push cart business selling fruits, pastries and drinks. As the placement went on I also helped to write a budget for funding that had already been received and drew up an action plan for our proposed micro-business project. At 11am each day we would be collected by Kimhay and have lunch back at the Projects Abroad apartments with the other volunteers.
This was a great way to get to know everyone and find out what they had been doing at their placements and share ideas on things to teach the children and places to visit at the weekends. Each day we would return to our placement from 13:30 until 16:30 when we would be teaching the children in a library lesson, computing class and English class. We were not accompanied by a teacher during our lessons which at first was very daunting. We also had to find the books from a bookstore and make worksheets for the children as the school was not equipped with all of the resources that were required, but we found that drawing pictures, writing postcards and doing funny actions in class always went down well and helped their understanding!
Before I left for Cambodia I picked up travel Guess Who and Baby Animals Top Trumps games which they enjoyed playing with and was a useful learning aid for the children. They also liked to do wordsearches which we made to cover some of the vocab that we had learnt in class and play Hangman and Bingo on play day Fridays! At the end of the day we would head back to the apartments and have a tasty Khmer meal at 7pm which was prepared for us by our friendly house Mum named Rath. Each apartment has a house Mum who also keeps the apartment and rooms tidy and they are always singing and laughing and will prepare food requests for you if you would like something specific to eat. In the evenings we would sometimes watch a DVD or go to the local shopping centre for delicious ice-cream.
There was also a very friendly guest house that everyone would go to near lakeside to use the internet and unwind and a pub quiz was held near lakeside on Thursday nights! The weekends were our free time when we tried to do as much site seeing as possible! We found it very easy to organise trips and we always had other friends who were keen to come along too!
Our first trip was to Sihanoukville (the beach) and then Siem Reap where the beautiful temple of Angkor Wat is situated along with many others. There were also many things to see in Phnom Penh including the tragic killing fields and S-21 prison but also the Royal Palace, many temples and markets where you could spend hours and most of your money on brightly coloured scarves, dresses and gifts for all of your family!
All in all we had a really brilliant trip, we made some great friends, and life long memories and the opportunity to work with the Cambodian people and the children is one of the most rewarding experiences that my friend and I have done. If I have any regrets it is that we could not stay for longer and travel around Cambodia seeing more of the hidden treasures and meeting more of the friendly local people…hopefully next time!
Weekend. Now it is coming again this month, and it reminded me to miss the previous volunteers who had joined and help us while you are here. Here again on 12thSeptember 2010, we had a
Dirty Weekend at VCAO. The specific activities was making a concert fence and cleaning the classroom. Before describing the activity that we did, let me give a special thank our 10 volunteers, Brett Thomas, Brooke Thomas, Clare Stone, Jacquelyn Morey, Laurene Loth, Matthew Miles, Paola Salvatori, Peggy Kuit, Peter Esperson, Rachel Levine. Everybody tried all their best to make it done well.
Well, in the morning at 8:00am we left apartment to the placement, by traffic jam we arrived there around 8:35am. Immediately, after we arrived we looked around the placement and I told them what we needed to do. Then, everybody started doing, while the contractor was mixing the cement and sand, some of us was collecting rubbish and some was removing the material in the classroom and put it outside and started cleaning in the classroom. You may wonder why we clean at there as the placement is a slum area, but we can say that we clean is better then nothing. For Rachel and Matt help the contractor to mix the cement and sand. Some of us delivered the brick to the place where we would make the fence. Then, we began concrete the fence. the first line was completed and we continue one by one until it nearly done. Because of the heat and felt tired, we decided to relax and had lunch. After having lunch, we finished it all at 3:00pm. And we had walked in group to the place of villager to see their condition living and we prepared our belonging and home back to apartment. We feel really happy to say that the shower was waiting for us at the Apartment:-).
I am really appreciated your help and your time contributing to this activities. How amazing you are :-).
The pictures are available in Official Projects Abroad Cambodia facebook.
I have been in Cambodia for 3 months. In the beginning, I was nervous about what I need to do at school. To be honest, I didn’t prepare that much before I came here. But smiling of children and warm welcome changed me on the first day. They were so lovely. Next day I was excited to go to school and to see how it goes.
I was teaching English and Japanese and also was doing care at ACCE.
They were studying hard every day. In the morning class, I taught them how to communicate more confidently in front of people. So I encouraged them to do short speech. We made collage with using color pencils, crayons and markers.
Teenagers between 14 and 20 years old came to the evening class.
They understood what I said in the class, but I thought they need more confident in speaking. I decided to do group survey and presentation about sports, music, housework, and so on. They discussed about what they’re going to present and helped each other as a group. I think that was good experience for them.
Besides study, I played with them and did lots of games. Games were always popular. I did Japanese game I used to play when I was a kid. We had so much fun! Most of boys played football and volleyball every day. I enjoyed playing with them. The backyard they played was not quite safe for them. So we wiped out the garbage and changed to the safe place to play.
On the weekend, I joined the event that Projects Abroad provided. One was planting mango trees, or coconut tress and the other was painting. Both were good activities and I had a good time with other volunteers. It’s good opportunities to know other orphanages. That made me think about what they need most.
I had a great time with children and other volunteers who have from different background. I want to say thank you to lovely children that they showed me different side of the world.
Also I want to say thank you for all staff members of Projects Abroad. They were always there for me when I needed help.
I think Cambodia is the beauty of smile. Smiling is the key always!
Thank you so much.
Oh, it was the time to meet all together. After having dinner, we spend around1 hour for going out
and had ice cream together. We went to ice cream shop called SWENSENS which located in Soriya Shop
ping centre and it is the famous one in Cambodia.
There are a lot of flavour that we can choose. And our volunteers ware hard to decise which one to choose. Finally we got it. Our volunteers, Asako and Nadine, had choosed Green Tea flavour and they liked it so much.
Everybody enjoyed having ice cream but also felt sad because it was the last day of Christian Watkin. Hmmm...
I hope we will have a good time next week on our volunteers'last day.
With 20 volunteers and Projects Abroad Cambodia staff members, we celebrated Monthly Dinner party on Friday 27th September 2010 at Samot Phnon Penh rastaurant.
The party event was very important because our volunteers had enough time to introduce themselves to each other. Some volunteers may not know other volunteers since they live in different apartments, and they do not have meals together. So from day to day, they go to work in the morning and afternoon. so for the Projects Abroad Cambodia team the Monthly Dinner party is a significant time as we can talk to volunteers closely, chat about many things. In short, this party was a meaningful time for us.
It should be mentioned that all volunteers really enjoyed, especially, for some volunteers it was their last day and last party time in Cambodia destination.
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