Our last week in Siem Reap has gone VERY quickly as expected. On Monday we all finished off the final bit of our loo; it was really satisfying to see the finished product and to see how happy it made the families we had built it for. Our loo was officially opened by the cutting of a ribbon, done bit by bit by all of us! Once the loo was finished, our family presented us with an AMAZING lunch with baguette and a really yummy curry, it was one of the best meals I’ve had here and even more appreciated when we found out that it had cost the family a full five days worth of wages to make for us, but they seemed really proud and happy to present it to us- and we were all so excited to eat it! It was really hard to say goodbye to the family that we had grown to know well and our contractor Pahum, but we can leave Siem Reap knowing that we’ve done something good that will actually benefit quite a lot of people for a long time.
On Tuesday morning, our group joined Chouy’s group to go plant vegetables with the family they had been working with over the last month. It was a fun morning, and I think we successfully completing our task of hoeing up the soil, raking it evenly and planting the ‘Morning Glory’ seeds!!!!
Wednesday morning was spent all together looking around the local markets. It was quite a morning for our senses, with the smells coming from the various meats being quite overwhelming. The number of pigs heads, guts and live fish may have put the vegetarians in our group off but I personally really enjoyed it! We also visited the Artisans Angkor workshop. The company was created at the end of the 1990s to help young people from rural areas with little or no opportunities find work through art. The artists make incredible sculptures out of wood and stone, with many of them being deaf and mute. It seems like a really good way to bring employment to those who otherwise probably wouldn’t have had the chance.
Today was our last day at the school, if started with us going in early this morning to help them with their weekly labour day rubbish clear up! The amount of litter in Siem Reap makes England look like spotless utopia and it’s clear to see that recycling doesn’t really exist here, with the rubbish that we collected with the children all being chucked in a big pile and burnt, plastic and all! Despite the questionable disposal methods, it was good to see that Spitler school is making an effort to encourage their students to try and keep their country as tidy as they can. It was a surprisingly fun activity and nice to see the children outside of the school environment- I think they were happy to see us too!
The afternoon consisted of games of splat with our Thursday class and anyone else who was around. We were then presented our certificates of thanks which was so kind of the school and then came the very emotional goodbyes….
Some tears were shed (mostly by me) and it was hard to say goodbye to all the children we’ve come to know and love but I think we can leave knowing we’ve done a good job and that they have hopefully learnt something but also had fun too with the many games of hangman, splat, the leaf game, a sailor went to sea sea sea- the list goes on forever!
We only have two night left in Siem Reap; one final hurrah on pub street tonight and then a day of packing tomorrow before the very long bus journey to Mondulkiri commencing on Saturday morning. Next week we are heading into the jungle for a week of elephants!!!!!! There will be no wifi or signal and electricity only three hours a day (apparently they have lots of board games) so to all my many hundreds of fans who I know read this religiously, the next blog may be a bit late- but it will come! On a serious note, we have all loved our time in Siem Reap, the last five weeks have been some of the most rewarding of my life and I honestly will never forget it. It’s a fantastic city with the most lovely people and we have been truly lucky to spend the last month and a bit here.