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4 Dec. Cambodian Fun and Games!

Wednesday, December 4th

sunny 34 °C

Today was Danielle's last day in Cambodia. She was keen to teach her class from last week and have a chance to say "Au Con!" ("Good bye"). Barbara had been teaching the morning classes this week, but she graciously let Danielle do the first one. Danielle had prepared the lesson, and she had bought some lovely hair barrettes for the girls. I had a few "Angry Birds" things I had brought from home, knowing how popular they were with these kids. The class was at 8:00, so after a quick breakfast we were in the classroom where one of the children counted out " 1, 2, 3 ". Then all together: "Good Morning, Teacher. How are you today?" - - - - - "I am fine, thank you." Danielle then said for them to sit down. The class went just fine doing review of run/running etc. and reading Swiss Family Robinson and identifying new words. Half way through, Danielle said that she had prizes for the kids. Each had a chance to answer, by putting the word on the board. A right answer meant that the child could pick a prize from the little basket, but could then not answer another question. It added an extra element of fun, and too soon all kids had a prize and the class was over. The children were keen to pose for a picture with their teacher.

Danielle's middle class.

After this class, these kids were free and so were we. Before long, a circle of hand holding kids had formed and we found ourselves included in the enjoyable Khmer games. In one, a pair of kids walked around this circle, then slapped a pair of grasped hands, then ran around the circle. The new pair broke away and ran outside the circle in the opposite direction. Both pairs met and wildly swapped partners and ran to return to the open spot. The looser pair had to circle again, continuing the game. The regular teacher Malin was an enthusiastic part of this, as were we and the other volunteers. I did a lot of laughing and sprinting.

This Khmer game is a blindfolded chase. Shaking a bottle of sand attracts the opponent. Have a look at the video clip!

Shrieks and laughs tell the story as Danielle gropes for her student.

This game involves one couple sprinting around the circle and back to the empty spot faster than their rival couple.

"Teacha" Malin claims victory as his team perhaps arrives first.

This game involves speed and cunning. Team members are each given a number. A number is called and that person from each team runs to the middle. A stick in the middle is the prize. Once the stick is grabbed, the stick holder must run back to her side or can be tagged, and loses. Another number called brings reinforcements from both sides. Bluff, speed, feinting all make this a battle of wits.

Two other games followed. Though it was 34 degrees, it was easy to sprint when needed so as to not let the team down. After 2 hours of laughter, the kids were ready to have a breather. So was I.

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Danielle had things on our "To Do" list. Having been distracted by a morning of wild fun, we headed for town with only 2 hours till afternoon classes. We had decided to have a facial at our favourite massage boutique. Once again we were pampered. Danielle went for the Deluxe regular package that was an hour of luxury. I was advised to go for the "Deluxe with anti aging treatment" Good idea if it helps! It is so very relaxing lying there, being pampered with steamy cloths, creams and gentle finger tips being drummed on the face and neck. Halfway through, Danielle said plaintively: "Mom, MOM" and I answered, "I'm not asleep!" Danielle's version was: "Zzzzzzzz ….. Zzzzzzzzz ………I'm NOT asleep!" I had asked Danielle to not let me miss any of it. We talked a little (She was actually keeping an eye on me!) Danielle finished up, and left to get a "bubble tea". Anti aging takes longer, so I stayed for another 15 minutes. The total bill for two of us $35. A luxury I will only experience in this part of the world! I thanked the young lady and started to enjoy the delicious feeling of a smoother (? younger) face. Time to dash off for our classes at ACODO.

This is a relaxing treat that lulled me off to dreamland - but just for a few minutes. Silly to miss this luxury!

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Danielle told me how much she enjoyed teaching the older kids. They responded so well to her, and this afternoon was another great experience. These kids are serious about learning the intricacies of English. They are respectful, but their sense of humour often comes through in their answers. Danielle's 3 p.m. class finished and she took my 4 p.m. class so that I could meet with Sovy once again. I had arranged to meet him as he finished his English class with the monks. I wanted to know that things are really o.k. with him, and to ask more about other children who had left the orphanage. I did get some answers, but there are still a few more questions. I bid Sovy a warm goodbye and walked back to ACODO. The last class was just finishing, and Danielle was making promises about returning to Cambodia. Soon it was time for goodbyes. I know Danielle will remember today fondly.

The students' sense of humour comes through easily. Their English is very good, but still, they are keen to learn.

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It was time to head back to our hotel. Danielle had checked out earlier and left her packed bags in my room. We wanted to arrange a tuk tuk to the airport, but Samnang kindly said that he wanted to drive Danielle. - Not your average hotel, is it? We had until 8 p.m. to do last minute things. We changed and then headed into town for supper at a vegetarian restaurant that Danielle had noticed earlier in the week.
We arrived at the restaurant and chatted about our time together in Cambodia and about plans for the next year. We enjoyed a wonderful meal, and a warm evening. We decided to take the scenic route home, and wandered through the marketplace, smelling incense and spicy foods. Pub Street was alive with laughter and eclectic sounds of music.
Sounds of Pub Street drift through the window. Danielle is delighted to find six pages of vegetarian delights.

Our appetizer: Green mango, sweet peppers and cucumber with a HOT green curry dip. Yum!

Streets are getting dark, and it is time to collect suitcases and head to the airport for Danielle's flight to London.

We strolled back the road beside the river to our hotel. There was time to collect Danielle's suitcase and say goodbye to several people she had met during her stay. Samnang took us to his car, and we drove through the darkened streets towards the airport. Danielle warmly thanked Samnang, and we said our goodbyes. I will see Danielle when I arrive in London on Sunday night.

Posted by Sue McNicholas 03:47 Archived in Cambodia

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