Another early start! The hotel made us packed breakfasts and we got on the minibus to a village in the Oddor Meanchey province. There were 17 of us in a 15 seater mini bus, it was seriously hot!
When we arrived the children were all standing waiting for us. They have their extra lessons in the space underneath the teacher’s house, they don’t have tables or chairs, just a bit of tarpaulin to sit on. The children seemed very smiley and seemed quite shy.
We got out bubbles to play with them and some games. We taught the children songs: first we did Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, then the Hokey Cokey, then Father Abraham! The children showed us Father Abraham in Khmer first then we showed them in English. It was very, very hot but we all loved it.
After the singing I made up a clapping game which we played with the children. I met a girl called Janny who I really liked. Even though we couldn’t talk to each other, we got on really well. We just smiled and laughed at each other. Some of the children taught me to count in Khmer, they don’t count in tens like us, they count in fives, so 6 is five and one, seven is five and two, 18 is five and five and three!
When it was time to give out the school packs, Chris told the children about Instow School and explained that I was there to find out about the different schools we visited and to come home and tell other children about it. They all shouted “thank you Alice” I felt happy and proud and a little bit embarrassed, like I hadn’t done anything to deserve it. (I found out the word for that is “humbled”). We handed out the school packs and then said “goodbye” to the children. They hugged us and thanked us and went off, some walking, some on their bikes. I got a picture with Janny and her family.
The children were all so excited about their school packs, they took them straight home to open them. To them, getting a pack with books, uniform and school stuff was as exciting as Christmas is for us!
After the children left, we had lunch (water snake, eels, chicken stir fry and rice) and went for a walk around the village. Janny lived in the house next door to the teachers, so she came with us. Soon lots of other children had joined us too!
We visited the government school, where the children go for half a day. It is a wooden building with two classrooms for 100 children. It was SO hot in there, and the loos were miles away! The white-board is so old that it must be almost impossible to use. The playground is two seesaws, a slide (without the slide, so it is just steps up to nothing!) and some bars. I played with the children for a bit and then it was time to go home. I was really sad to leave the village, everyone seemed so happy and friendly to us, even though they don’t have much.