Friday, December 6th.
06.12.2013 - 06.12.2013 32 °C
Friday- my last full day in Cambodia.
I wake up so early these days - long before it is light. I work on the computer until I hear the cooks in the kitchen at 5 a.m., then I come and get boiling water for a pot of tea, and work some more. By 7 o'clock I go for breakfast, then I head back to ACODO. The classes are good. I feel that the kids are getting and giving their best. Most are enthusiastic, though one or two are sleepy! When we finish today, I tell them that I have a little prize for each of them. Angry Birds dog tags and armbands, and colourful heart shaped erasers. I read the kids right. The prizes are a hit. Morning classes finish, and it's time for me to head up to New York International School.
It is a brisk 25 minute walk. I arrive just as all of the teens are coming out of the school. Four or five kids recognize me and come over to say "Hi". Most older kids who left ACODO are completing their regular studies here. I am so delighted to see so many of them. Then I spot my dear student. She is standing with two girlfriends, who I also know. We exchange warm hugs. I ask if they can come for an ice cream with me. "Well, first we will have to ask our sponsor." I hadn't thought of that. I am happy with that but there is something else on the go. I am a bit in the dark. Finally, I am invited to their home to see if it is o.k. I ride precariously on the carrier on the back of one bicycle. The other two girls arrive ahead of us. When Chunny and I come in up the steps to the front door, an apprehensive face greets me. "Hey! I know you!" This is someone who I volunteered with in January. No names! I was thrilled to see who was the sponsor for these three beautiful girls. We spent the next two hours catching up on goings on since January, and enjoying a bit of a tranquil home life that is a very new chapter for all five people in this new family. I don't have the words to say how I felt to see this. We've all agreed that I will remain in close touch. Two hours went just too fast. I was dropped back to my hotel by motorbike by the "Dad", who had errands in town. If you see me smiling in the next few weeks, I am perhaps thinking of this wonderful encounter.
Chunny, Sreina, Mey and Sela were all students at ACODO in January, 2013. Here, I have just met them outside New York International School.
Chunny with her little pet kitten.
The afternoon at the orphanage - I said my goodbyes. I really do hate to go. I said that I would be back for the show. I shrugged off the thankyous. Ah, I had found a little gift for every one in these two classes. I searched the internet, but finally found in St. John's, tiny little solar powered flashlights on a key chain. No good for you to look though. I searched everywhere in St. John's and I bought every last one! These kids have keys to their lockers and perhaps to a bicycle lock, so I figured that a flashlight would be useful. I love solar powered stuff, especially in a sunny place1
Malin wanted to know if he could give me a ride to the hotel. Though the walk is not long, the lift is welcome. He said that he has something that he needs to tell me, but that he will say it by email. I am intrigued. He is a good teacher, in that he really gets along well with the kids. He has a great rapport with them. He really has their back. He wants them to learn, and he is really helping them to accomplishes that. I will email him as soon as I get home. I bid a very warm goodbye to him. I do look forward to hearing back from him, and keeping in touch with these wonderful kids.
Back at the hotel - Just time to shower and change into a blue sarong for the evening . I like to dress up for the dancing to show the kids that I consider it to be something special. I saw Khemra behind the desk at the hotel. He said: "Susan, You make me cry, because you go!" We agreed that it would be a good plan to go to the nightclub tonight. He was so forthright --- ah, it turns out that "Aunty" was in Pnom Phen, so there was no fear of her disapproval. Jasmine was also going, and a boy who works in the laundry. I am game!!!!! Sounds like fun. We're going at 10 o'clock.
I was back at the orphanage at 6:30 for the performance. The two little 3 year olds, Panha and Komsot are playing around the stage before the dancing begins. I have a little gift for both of them: little ducks that quack when squeezed. The boys are delighted. Then the music starts and four little "monkeys" scamper onto the stage. Each time, I try to figure out which little boys are the monkey dancers, with their masks. I can sometimes tell by their height or their antics. I enjoy every one of the dances. Tonight I am taking quite a number of pictures. I have promised the kids that I will get pictures developed for them. Soon it is over. I stay for a while and talk to the kids. I take a few more pictures, and tell them that I will see them tomorrow before I leave.
Panha is trying to figure out how his duckling makes the quacking sounds.
Komsot has mastered squeezing the right spot to make his duckling start quacking. He is delighted when that happens.
Back at home I relax and then get ready to go out. Jasmine arrives, looking very pretty. She knocks on my door, then she comes in to talk to me. Sometimes she laughs and sometimes she is a bit hard to understand. We are both in a great mood to go out and enjoy a fun evening. We head downstairs to see if Khemra is ready. He is, and we spill out of the front door like adolescents on the pip. The plan is that we will go to the night club near the new night market. We will only stay till midnight. The boy from the laundry catches up, and we laugh about things as we maneuver the unplaced stones and shadows on the new sidewalk. We arrive at the club and take a table outside. The music is loud and catchy. We order a stein of beer. 'Laundry' keeps the glasses filled. A snack? Sure! I tell Khemra that I will pay, as the price will be pitifully small anyway. We enjoy spicy interesting little plates of food in the dark. We are seriously trying to finish the beer! The music is just too good - my feet are twitching! Khemra is happy to head for the dance floor. The music is hoppin' ! RGB laser and a fog machine...WOW ! The dance floor is crowded. We elbow out a little space and hop to the sound and the strobe lights and dry ice mist. Jasmine and Laundry head out too. The lights and pulsing bodies are surreal. The beat is infectious. Well it is a great evening. We take a break from the dancing and nibble on a bit more mystery snacks. We go for another stein of beer, and another few dances. Finally, we all realized that tomorrow we would all have to be up early. We soon headed back along Sivutha Avenue towards the hotel. We had all had a fine evening, and a musical treat.
The nightclub. No pictures allowed inside - Just the memories of an evening of fun and dancing.