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Finally In Cambodia
After many hours of travel, team Cambodia finally made it to Cambodia! We landed in Phnom Phen and encountered the humidity that we were in for. On our first full day in country, we visited the Killing Fields. This is where many Cambodians were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime. In the middle of the Killing Fields there is a stupa filled with the skulls of the Cambodians that were killed there. It was such an eye opening display to witness. It gave us a visual of how many people suffered and died through that time. A emotional place for many was the Killing Tree. This is where Khmer Rouge soldiers were instructed to beat children and babies against this tree. After visiting the Killing Fields, we went to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The Tuol Sleng genocide museum is a former high school which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge. Tuol Sleng was only one of at least 150 execution centers in the country, and as many as 20,000 prisoners there were killed. It was hard to see the small rooms where many people were held captive and tortured. Seeing these places helped remind us why we are here.
Day two of our stay here in Cambodia we were able to visit the village that we will be working in for the first time. When we got there we were greeted by all of the school children. They were lined up along the driveway to the school, all had smiling faces. We then proceeded to the opening ceremonies of our work week. The children sang us a song, and the community leaders spoke to us. We then sang “The Star Spangled Banner”, dance the “Cha-Cha Slide” and performed the “Cup Game”. After that, we had an opportunity to meet and play with the children. That afternoon, we went to Sustainable Cambodia (or SC as everybody calls it). There we had another opening ceremonies. We did the same routine that we did earlier in the village. The students at SC gave us quite a performance. They danced traditional dances, and had amazing costumes. After that, a spontaneous Cambodian dance party broke out between the high schooler’s as Sustainable Cambodia and the students on our team.
Days three and four were work days at the school in the village. The first day we scraped the paint off the walls at the school, and worked on constructing the library next door. Since then we have begun to paint, hauled dirt, created a garden, and built a long jump area. Some of us have already taught our lessons once. These lessons have gone over great, and the kids really seem to enjoy having us there to teach them. This is all in the first two days of work!
So far the food has been delicious, and the the weather has been hot and humid or rainy. Everyone love the fruit that we get at every meal. We are loving this exotic tropical fruit and wishing we could get it back home. On our first work day here in Cambodia, we experienced an amazing rain storm. The rain was an amazing relief from the hot sun. The rain came so fast and so hard, it was definitely a sight to behold.
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