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Welcome to Cambodia

sunny 29 °C

Our first 24 hours in Siem Reap have been wonderful. We arrived off the plane and met our wonderful host Davy who owns a guesthouse in Siem Reap. The rooms are beautiful, clean and have air-conditioning.. we are pleasantly surprised as we had prepared ourselves for primitive conditions and would have been happy with that.
cambodia_081.jpg We were all pretty shattered from the plane trip but were keen to check out the famous Night Markets and get something to eat. We went to a restaurant and ordered some food and while we waited did some people watching. We couldn’t help noticing a pancake stall right across from the restaurant and made a decision to give it a go. Can I tell you chocolate and banana pancakes made from a cart are one of the most delicious things I have eaten
cambodia_072.jpg By the time we had done all this we were pretty tired so headed back to the guesthouse and went to bed. I slept surprisingly well but already know I will need an extra pillow (I know, I know I am soft) Today was full on we meet Billy, Jim and Lisa who all have ties to the school we will be volunteering in. We also met our translators Kan and Pech.
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They gave us a briefing on Cambodia’s past and Siem Reap today which although I knew some of the history was fascinating especially when Davy gave us some personal perspectives on what her family had been through. We then visited the Angkor Hospital for Children which is a wonderful organisation doing some great work in reducing the horrifying statistic that 1 in 15 children under the age of 5 die in Cambodia. They have a website so be sure and look into it and see if you can help. After the hospital visit Davy took us to lunch at this fabulous restaurant called “Neary Khmer” which translates to Lady Khmer. Davy told us that the lady who owned the restaurant started in small humble restaurant and now owns three of the best restaurants in Cambodia. The food was delicious and I had a coconut and banana milkshake that was to die for.
We went back to the guesthouse to freshen up before our visit to the Spitler School which was so amazing. Jim and Lisa showed us around and we got to meet some of the children. Cambodian children go to school 6 days a week in Cambodia and they are so keen to be educated. These children were just wonderful, so happy and friendly and full of energy, I would love to share photos with you but it is not appropriate to show photos of kids on the internet so you are going to have to trust me when I say they are wonderful. I am so excited to be teaching at this school as the teachers and staff are so dedicated and wonderful and their commitment to the children is so obvious that I feel privileged to be a part of it. The problem with being here is that you know there is only so much you can do to help.
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We have decided to donate blood next week and we are all going to ask friends , family and our local community to contribute some money to be able to buy much needed resources.
After the school we visited a local market which only has local charitable organisations selling things and it had some wonderful things. I didn’t buy anything other than this potent coconut flavoured rum that packed a punch.. figured it might come in handy over the next month!
After the markets we got ready for our welcome dinner at this huge restaurant called the Amazon that had a buffet full of fantastic food and then presented a show of traditional Cambodian dancers which were extremely funny.
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Highlight was guessing the nationality of the tourists based on appearance and demeanour alone 
We then asked Davy to drop us off at the famous Night Markets of Siem Reap where we explored the shops, got a foot massage, lost two of the group, found the two we lost, forgot where we were staying remembered where we were staying and grabbed a tuk tuk home.
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I bought a pair of Dr Dre headphones for $15.. winning!

Posted by sonya13 17:39 Archived in Cambodia Tagged school reap volunteer abroad siem spitler antipodeans

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