Armed with our dirt-proof-orange Tuk Tuk t-shirts and discography of Disney we hit the road.
One great thing about spending an extended period of time in one country is the network of fantastic people that you meet. Throughout our journey we’ll be meeting up with many of our friends to get off the beaten track and into even the most unknown areas. Today we met up with Marie, a French volunteer working with the Coconut Water Foundation based in Battambang.
“Education is an engine of development” Marie tells us. Coconut Water works with fifteen public primary schools conducting workshops on health and hygiene, the environment, and gender equality. Their methods of empowering their students are pretty unique, they support the families of those at university to ensure that the students aren’t taken into work before finishing their studies, they have a female football team meeting twice a week and receiving sexual education classes before the training starts, they have a beautiful boutique and a restaurant with the most relaxing rooftop chill out area and the best Spanish omelette in South East Asia!
Our caravan of barrangs arrived at the the Koukpunley school to a chorus of ‘hello teacher, how are you?!’ We set up in the stifling classroom, I have no idea how the kids manage to concentrate in the heat of mid-day without even a fan! With the TV set up in the classroom Arvind began to flick through pictures of animals in Africa in preparation for the viewing of David Attenborough’s documentary ‘Africa’. The kid’s stretched their necks to get a look at the crazy creatures on the screen and to look about each other in confounded bewilderment. The universal language of ‘ahhs’,’ohhhs’, and ‘wohhs’ spread across the class as close-ups of lions, panoramas of savannahs, and action shots of monkeys leaping through the jungle canopy flashed across the screen.
We followed up with old faithful Donald Duck, who never fails to get a good laugh from teachers, volunteers and students alike. As well as our class of 40 we had kids climbing on top of each other to get a look though the windows, the frames looked close to collapsing with the weight of all of them! Let’s hope we get another opportunity to come back to the school and show all the kids a movie.
Why not make a difference in some of Cambodia’s poorest villages. Good karma for you, great excitement for the kids.