On Sunday 28th Nov 2010, a group of volunteers in Cambodia had contributed their time to make a Dirty Weekend done. They really did a good job.
Start from 9:00am to 3:00pm, the activities were making concrete walls and cleaning the classroom.
I would like to give a special thanks to: Abigail Buckland, Bonnie Whitehead, Fiona Bonet, Sara Gingold, Georgie Skates, Trui Moerman, Marijke van Leeuwen, Nickeline Larsen, Stephanie Kelly, Stephane Bernard Schneider, Tara Muldowney, Scott Franklin, without all of you, I could not image how would it be complete.
The pictures are available in Official Projects Abroad Cambodia facebook.
This past weekend in Phnom Penh has been crazy. Literally a million people come in from the provinces to participate in the Water Festival, a three day festival in November with boat races, fireworks, vendors, Ferris wheels, and light parades on the river at night. On the streets of Riverside, (one of the districts of Phnom Penh, can you guess where?) there are vendors everywhere, even more than normal. They sell bright pink and orange and yellow pinwheels, flashy plastic light up toys, and little festively painted bamboo animals on sticks. There is an abundance of people selling small baggies of sweet sugar cane juice, pushing their carts filled with long pale sticks of sugar cane and the roller that flattens the cane and squeezes out the liquid.
people in Riverside than anywhere I have ever been before. It is a zoo. There are children running around, people yelling, motos beeping trying to get through the crowd. There is so much activity everywhere you turn; there is no respite from it all. Even when you find a restaurant with a balcony above the crowds, it is still loud with music and voices, and your nose is accosted with the most delicious smell one moment and the vilest scent the next. Then, on top of everything, it is hot hot hot. The sun beats down during the day, and at night, there is plenty of residual heat with the crush of people keeping the evening air from cooling off. It is crazy and exhausting, but exhilarating and energizing all at the same time.
The boats they use in the races are long and narrow, low to the water. On Saturday when we went to see the beginning of the races, one of the boats had actually sunk, and the team was trying to get the boat back to the shore to get it emptied and floating again. The boats have teams of between 60 and 70 rowers, all dressed in fluorescent tee shirts with a matching or contrasting baseball cap. The men either sit or kneel along the sides of the boat and paddle together, much like crew. And like watching any crew team, or any spots team: when they are not competing, they are on the sidelines, fooling around, playing music, and dancing.
One guy was using a big plastic bucket for a drum, and another team member was rapping through a megaphone while the rest of the team was dancing and having a grand old time. One of my friends from Project Abroad went in and joined them, and they thought it was crazy cool – it was hysterical and really kind of fun to connect in such a way with the locals.
In the evening, starting at about 6pm, there are fireworks and a boat parade on the river. The fireworks are good: they last almost a half an hour and all my favorite types made an appearance in the show. The boat parade consists of boats from different branches of the government, each with a different picture or design fashioned completely out of lights. Some of the boats have music, some have words, and some just have a picture. The boats continue to move up and down the river all night, and it is a calming, beautiful, majestic background that contrasts nicely with the more rambunctious celebrations on the banks of the river.
The atmosphere of the festival is just one big party, and just like any party, it is a good time while it lasts, and then after, it is nice to go back to the normalcy and routine of everyday life.
Last week was our special festival which call Water Festival (Bon Oum Touk), a lot of Cambodian who live at countryside visited Phnom Penh visit, because it was a big celebration in Phnom Penh for three days.
For Projects Abroad volunteers in Cambodia had spent time to walk around the city – riverside area to see the festival. The third day we went to Kandal restaurant which located at river front. It was very nice to see a crowd of people and firework while we had dinner. After dinner, we went to Tuffi Frutti for ice-cream, the entire flavors are good and you can choose any upon your favorite. And we pay according to the weigh of the ice cream we choose. Get more, pay more :-).
It was fun and happy.
Volunteer in Cambodia for one month with disabled children, Beate has discovered a new experience and felt happy that she can help the children to do exercises and some other activates. We can observe that those children need to something colorful which means that stuff can stimulate their brain to be flexible.
So, Beate has happily decided to donate a set of sofa to the placement for the children. It costs 120 US dollars and it is very nice, especially the color of the sofa. She brought it to the placement this morning. She hopes that children will like it and get the benefit from that.
We, Projects Abroad and NBC-placement, would like to say thank so much to Beate Schmitt for the donation to the placement and we wish all the best in life.
Having collected some money from home, Suzan and Anne have donated all those money to the their placement which they are working for. The placement called Cambodia Hope Association.
But they did not give money to the director of the placement, instead they have bought two of water purify and painted the wall for the placement. Besides buying those stuffs, they also bought some snacks and soft drinks to the children at the placement.
The director of the placement was so happy and appreciate their help. And, he would like to thank them.
Nachdem ich mich entschieden hatte, zwei Monate als Freiwillige in Phnom Penh zu verbringen, war ich sehr gespannt, was mich dort vor Ort erwarten würde. Am Flughafen wurde ich direkt von einem der netten Mitarbeiter vor Ort in Empfang genommen und schon am folgenden Tag wurde ich mit der Stadt und meiner zukünftigen Aufgabe vertraut gemacht.
Die Unterkunft erfolgt in Gemeinschaftsappartements der Freiwilligen aus den verschiedenen Projekten in Phnom Penh. Diese liegen direkt Tür an Tür, so dass einem regen Miteinander nichts entgegensteht. Gemeinsame Mahlzeiten, Ausflüge am Wochenende, Shopping oder eine kleine Kneipentour am Abend – ich habe immer nette Gesellschaft gefunden. Nicht zuletzt war es mir gerade am Anfang des Projektes eine große Hilfe, auf die praktischen Erfahrungen der anderen Freiwilligen zurückgreifen zu können.
Die Stadt selbst bietet alle Möglichkeiten der Freizeitgestaltung, zum einen die touristischen Ziele wie den königlichen Palast, die Killing Fields, Tempel und Pagoden, zum anderen schicke wie gemütliche Bars und Restaurants, Sport- und Einkaufsmöglichkeiten. Für den entsprechenden Preis konnte ich auch ohne Probleme meinen Nachschub an westlichen Gebrauchsgegenständen organisieren, seien es Bücher in deutscher Sprache, Käse oder Medikamente. Ein ganz besonderes Erlebnis sind natürlich die lokalen Märkte, bunt und wuselig und immer eine Fundgrube für hübsche Souvenirs. Dass es in Phnom Penh keine öffentlichen Verkehrsmittel gibt ist kein Problem, an jeder Straßenecke stehen für kleine Geld Tuk Tuks und Motorradtaxis bereit, über deren Preis es natürlich wie überall erst zu verhandeln gilt.
Das Kinderheim „Cambodian Hope Association“, in dem ich tätig war, liegt ca. 25 Minuten von den Unterkünften entfernt. Dort leben etwa 70 Kinder, Jugendliche und junge Erwachsene zwischen 2 und 24 Jahren. Einige der Kinder haben einen oder beide Elternteile verloren, stammen aus schwierigen Familienverhältnissen, in denen Gewalt, Alkohol, Drogen und Vernachlässigung das Leben der Kinder bestimmten. Meine Aufgabe bestand darin, ein tägliches Programm zu organisieren, um die Entwicklung der Kinder zu unterstützen. Oft hätte ich mir dabei gewünscht, ihre Sprache besser zu verstehen, nicht nur, um den täglichen Ablauf zu besprechen, sondern um mit ihnen besser als in einfachem Englisch über ihre kleinen und großen Sorgen und Nöte reden zu können. Die Fröhlichkeit und Begeisterung der Kinder sind meine schönsten Erinnerungen, dennoch haben sie oft viel durchgemacht und brauchen jede Aufmerksamkeit und Unterstützung, die man einbringen kann. Hierbei sind sowohl Kreativität wie Selbständigkeit gefragt. Während meines Aufenthaltes habe ich beispielsweise einen Zahnputz-Wettbewerb ins Leben gerufen und die Gewinner des ersten Preises haben mit mir den Zoo besucht. Viele der Kinder hatten in ihrem Leben noch keinen echten Löwen oder Tiger zu Gesicht bekommen und waren Feuer und Flamme, sich jedes Detail einzuprägen, bis sie vor Erschöpfung fast im Stehen eingeschlafen sind. Musikunterricht, kleine handwerkliche Bastelarbeiten, die Unterstützung bei medizinischen Problemen oder der Aufbau einer kleinen Einkommensquelle aus dem Verkauf von individuell gefertigten Armbändern – jeder Tag war vielfältig und alles im allem war die Zeit für mich eine wundervolle Erfahrung.
Last night, at the apartment where all our volunteers are living, we had a cooking time which had been created by Peter. He likes Omelet, but he never experienced cooking it at all. Taking a good chance while all the volunteers were at the apartment in the evening around 6:30pm, Peter and Greg had prepared all the ingredients for making the omelet for those friend – volunteers.
I was also there and observed that they really made good omelets. However, it was quite bad because one among the ingredient, it is chili, inattentively, Peter used his hand directly to chop the chili, a few minutes after chopping, he felt hot in his hand. The good job would be hard to do without the help from Greg:-).
Imagine a tropical Island in the middle of a turquoise sea with deserted golden sandy beaches, warm temperatures and blue skies. Hold that thought, because on the island of Koh Rung Samleon you will find all of this and more...........much more.
It is not often that one gets the opportunity to combine some adventure and excitement with helping to conserve and protect some beautiful reefs and its marine life. But my three month stay on the island will leave a lifelong impression. Mixing with other volunteers from all around the world, all with the one goal.....conservation.
When you wake up in the morning and the sun is shining through the window of your thatched bungalow and you can see the ocean lightly lapping the sand only metres away, you are thinking that life does not get much better than this.
Embracing the simple way of life was easy for me, but it may not be for everyone. Getting away from all the things we take for granted like hot water, Internet, phones and showers was a way of exploring yourself and your mind set. Beautiful but basic accommodation is on offer. You do not need more.
Educating the local village in sustainable fishing methods which in turn will improve their way of life and food security. Collecting marine data is the main role of the volunteer which will provide the local fishery authorities with information on the health of the reefs and its marine life. As well as the underwater activities there are other areas of work to be carried out like beach clean-ups, jungle trekking to monitor rare types of orchids and other plant life, and the building of an incinerator which I helped to start while I was on the island.
The diving is excellent and in my three months on the island I completed over 100 dives. The diving activities include seahorse surveys, reef surveys and reef clean-ups, all of which are planned and organized in a safe manner. Even if you have never dived before, you could not find a better place to learn with qualified, quality instructors who allow you to learn at your own pace.
Paul and his staff run this non-profit marine conservation organization from the heart, entirely devoted to the project. Their passion to do the right thing for this area is immense.
So change the traditional travelling path for a change of pace and sign up for a minimum of two months to really appreciate and get fully involved in the project. Everyone’s input makes a difference.
Simon Ferrier – UK
Projects Abroad Cambodia conducted a Workshop on 10th November 2010 from 2:00pm to 4:30pm. There were five participants; one of them was our old volunteer who worked here around 2 months. so he had a lot of experiences and ideas to share. And 4 of them were the volunteers who just arrived.
During the workshop we discussed a lot about each placement and tried to find the strategies to solve the problems which can happen during they are working in those projects.
And we ended the workshop by providing the Khmer useful words and sentences to those volunteers, so that it will help them to easily communicate with the children.
Independent day means a lot for all Cambodians- bringing freedom, new life, and prosperity for us.
On 9th Nov 2010, Cambodia celebrated 57th Independence Anniversary at the Independence Monument. Around 20,000 people including children and government officials stood along the Norodom Blvd and attended the ceremony to welcome King Norodom Sihamoni. He kept a wreath and ignited the torch inside the Independence Monument to symbolize the country’s independence from colonial rule. The torch lit by the King will burn for three days.
Cambodia was a French clolony for 90 years and gained complete independence from France.
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