Cambodia

Monday, June 6th, 2005

This is the start of my second full day in Cambodia. I am at an internet cafe downloading software to help repair the orphanage’s computer. S. and I both rode in on the back of P.’s motorbike and made quite a funny sight to the locals who already achieve a high level of ridiculous people stacking.

A large post is in the works, complete with photos, but since the connections are so slow and the internet cafe is far away, I won’t be able to post much in the month I’m here.

On Sunday night, S. and I pulled up by taxi to the gates of the orphanage after driving down a local dirt road that ran between a weird mixture of modest near-shanties and larger wealthier homes. S. got out and knocked on the gate and all of these kids ran to the gate yelling his name and climbing around and prying the thing open. I got out of the car and everyone started running up and introducing themselves and hugging me and asking my name and age. It was overwhelming. Palm Tree orphanage is an amazing place wih both a positive attitude and inspiring hard work. The children seem delighted for me to be here and are very enthusiastic about learning (which is good because they spend most of their day in school). A bunch of the littler kids seem to seek me out and climb all over me when I sit down. And I have proven a match in soccer, volleyball, and basketball. S. has already taught a class, and I’ve been sitting in other classes and talking to the teachers about their methods. Three of the teachers are actually university students about my age, and they speak decent English. So I help them better their pronunciation and they watch me butcher the beautiful language of Khmer.

Sleeping under the mosquito net and glazed in sweat all day I feel peaceful and relaxed. It is surprising how quickly one can adjust to a new lifestyle and routine. I want so much to be able to speak the language here and connect to the children, and I already regret that my time here is so short. S. and I may come back later in the year, but it all seems like a drop in the bucket.

More details soon.

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