Friday, April 15, 2011

Life and Hope Angkor

Our current volunteering venture is with the Life and Hope Angkor organization at Wat Damnak, in Siem Reap. Life and Hope Angkor is 'an education-focused organization run by the monks of Wat Damnak. It is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by providing loving support and access to education to the poorest and most vulnerable in Cambodia...' Again, we will be teaching English, only this time our classes are mostly comprised of adults and older teens. We are teaching three classes, from 4-7pm, every evening. Most of the students attend school or work during the day and come to the evening classes because they really want to learn English. So far, they are pretty entertaining and provide us with at least one giggle worthy statement every day. I say this in good humour, not to make fun of them, the same way everyone laughs when I try to say 'goodnight' in Khmer, which must be coming out something like 'I love to eat boogers' judging by the way they laugh when I make what I think are the correct noises. For example, on the first day, one of the boys wrote, 'It is exactly in the midle of the dessert,' which is funny because dessert is supposed to be desert, and he was meaning to say the the Marrakech market was 'exactly in the middle of the desert,' which is still funny, I think. Then another boy decided that you could buy and espresso at a pharmacy, which is probably what people who drink espressos try to use as medication anyways! haha

We are teaching beginners to pre-intermediate levels. In every class, I introduced myself and told the class a little about myself and Canada and then opened the floor to questions. Without fail, in each class, a cheeky boy would stand up and ask me how old I was, what my favourite colour was, and if I could cook. That was a new one. Could I cook? haha Was I filling out an application of sorts, I wondered. Was I passing?

Our routine in Siem Reap is getting comfortable (which is solely based on the air conditioning in our room). We get up early and bargain with a tuk tuk driver to take us to Angkor Wat or some of the surrounding temples for a few hours in the morning before the heat becomes to unbearable, then we come back to our wonderfully cool room for a few hours to admire our shower curtain and make our lesson plans for that evening before heading out for some cheap eats at our favourite restaurant before class. After class we meet friends for dinner, or wander around the fantastic night market to practice bargaining with the smiley Cambodians. If it wasn't forty degrees outside, we might just have found it hard to leave...

More on the absolutely magnificent temples of Angkor soon...

P.S. Happy birthday, Frank and Jodie!

1 comment:

Karly said...

Happy birthday John!!! Hope you have a good day!! Too bad I wasn't there to bake you a delisous cake!! Miss you and love you both!! Xoxoxoxoxo