Second week’s blog here.
It starts with a familiar sounding joke: what do you get when you cross a group of nine enthused young volunteers with a market stall selling zany scrunchies at 2000 riel a pop? Not, as you might anticipate, the central concept for a hit 80s sitcom with a cult following, but rather our second week of working in and around Siem Reap. With our backpacks stuffed with suncream and water and our hair tied up in our super trendy new acquisitions, we set out to the Puok district to finish our wells and start building a pair of toilets. Our construction skills are now whispered about in all corners of the globe; indeed, thousands come to marvel at our feats. Not quite the case, and our uneven cementing might leave a little to be desired, but Yort seems happy in the knowledge that when he sends us home from Cambodia we will all be able to fashion a simple dwelling for ourselves and our families from even the most basic of tools.
Not only has the fortnight honed our building abilities, but also our ability to come up with engaging ways to teach English. Who would have thought that all those hours spent in French, deploring the multitude of methods that Tricolore presents you with for learning how to tell the time, would come in handy? Team games win every time as every child, world wide, relishes the opportunity to crush their classmates, even on something as ostensibly banal as household items.
Knackered as we are by the old 9-5, this weekend was set aside to be rather more relaxing than our explorations at Angkor. Saturday was spent (unfortunately under the gloomiest skies we have seen thus far) at a secluded roof top pool. The first hour was bliss, until we were forced out of the water by a series of violent self-ejections motivated by our great and mutual (and completely unfounded) fear of a lightning-induced death. Sunday, the more successful of the two, took us to Kulen waterfall. The sun was relentless, but even our burns could not detract from the cool refreshment that the waterfall proffered.
Spirits are still high and we are now all dab hands with a hoe (if we take nothing else from this trip, at least we have the alluring option of a career in TV gardening). The Scrunchie Bunch are taking on Siem Reap with smiles plastered on their faces and plaster just all over their faces really.
Hugs and kisses and a reminder to top up your water bottles!