Today we went to Srey Da’s village about 20km North of Phnom Penh. About 15 years ago their village was destroyed by a fire. They were moved to another village that was separated into lots and they all had their own bit of land. There were no trees for shelter and no water, so it was very hot. There was also no school, it was literally a field. My first impression of the village was that is was very muddy. The people lived in sort of huts, most of them had roofs of corrugated iron. It was very dusty, with red dust and mud everywhere. Children were running and playing, old people were making food and washing clothes.
There was lots of rubbish everywhere. There were huge pools of muddy water with rubbish floating on top, some of them were so deep we couldn’t get through. Sometimes I got a piggy back! Young children wore nothing on their bottom half, just a t-shirt and no shoes, playing in the floods on ground covered in bricks and broken tiles. It didn’t really smell of much, sometimes rubbish, but it was very, very hot.
We went to Srey Da’s house. She lived there with her son, who is 18 months old, her mum and her husband. At Srey Da’s house they have a little tuck shop. When the children aren’t in school they go to Srey Da’s house for extra learning. We met the children and helped them with their learning. I stood up in front of the class and taught them their ABC. I felt nervous and excited, the children were always smiling and very energetic. Instow school will sponsor one of the children I met today, our sponsorship will make that child much more likely to stay at school.
The thing I noticed about the village was that even though the people don’t have very much they seem to smile a lot although I am sure they don’t smile all the time. They were friendly and even though some of the houses were in absolute poverty, the children were really clean and smart. I also noticed that some houses were shacks with tin roofs and some were two or even three storeys high with fancy iron gates. There is now a market, school, and Sineth’s surgery. The people have had to rebuild their lives over the last 15 years. It made me think that at home we have lots of things but it never makes us happy and they don’t have much at all but are always trying their best.
By the time we got home it was bedtime!
Tomorrow we are going to a rural village in the countryside.