First Day at Chup Crocky

Phumi Samraong (3) Travel Blog

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The School

We woke up the next morning around 6am.  Everyone here pretty much goes to bed shortly after dark, and wakes up with the sun.  We woke up and had some instant coffee for breakfast with some cookies (I dont like coffee, so just had hot water).  Marc, the french guy who was also volunteering, showed us where the "bathroom" was.  No, there is no bathroom, but a 5 minute walk behind the hut, through the tall grass and plants, and there was a hole dug in the ground where you could do your business. 

After coffee, we all put on gloves and were handed cutting tools to hack down some tall weeds from a field in front of the school.  The school that was built in Chup crocky recently, was across from our hut and a big field was in front where they were working on chopping down all the tall plants around the school.

Volunteer Home in the middle
  Steve went at it with a sickle (round sharp thing) and chopped down a bunch of tall weed plants.  I used some clippers to chopped down some shorter weeds, while Antoine and Marc used big blades to cut down weeds.  We did this work for about an hour, Steve was very proud of his now empty plot of field, the fruit of his labor. 

Then we went back to the hut for breakfast #2.  All the food was prepared by the women of the family we were sharing the area with.  Basically a little grouping of shacks made up the "house" for this family.  One hut was used for the volunteers to sleep in, one for the family we were with to sleep in, one for cooking, and one for general storage.  The family consisted of a mother, 1 older daughter, 2 sons, and some other children and people who would also walk around but it was hard to tell who was part of which family since the village was so communal.

Big Pig and 2 Little Pigs
  Everyone helped everyone and children played everywhere.  Also in the family was a big pig, 2 piglets, many chickens, a very annoying rooster, a dog, and a cat.  All these animals roamed about freely in the house area, the pig slept right under the hut, and the rooster always seemed to like to hang out under our hut in the middle of the night where he would always cockle-doodle-doo at exactly 2:45am, 4am, 5am, and 6am.  Yes, it woke me up every time, but I never slept well any of the nights anyway. 

So back to breakfast #2, breakfast was ramen noodles, which was tasty.  Then we found out that we just sit around most of the day now.  Steve and I were shocked.  We asked what do we do now, and Marc, the fr.

Volunteer Home
guy who has been there for 2 weeks already said we do nothing.  Apparently, school is not until 1pm and then we will teach english class for one hour to the children, but until then and after that we do nothing.  Steve and I were very dissapointed to hear this.  Of course we had come there to serve and to work hard at whatever the village needed, but there was nothing planned for us to do.  Marc said it is very boring and he is ready to go home.  Well Steve and I didn't want to be discouraged. 

First we went to the watering pump again to try and wash up better.  I attempted to wash my hair in a bucket.  and we washed our muddy clothes from the moto ride the day before.  Then we walked around the village some, but there was not much to see.

Volunteer Home
  Basically it is little groupings of huts every few meters.  We noticed everyone was making these things out of straw that was the roofing of the huts.  Later we found out that this is one way that Chup crocky makes some income,  all of the women and children work to make straw roof to sell at a market, which is once a week.

After washing up, we noticed some children playing at the school so we walked over to interact with them.  They all scrambled to the desks as if ready to be taught, as soon as we walked in although it was not time for school yet.  Since they were at the desks and just staring at us, Steve and I went over saying the numbers in English with them which they were good at, and tried to teach some adding.

English Lesson
  It was really cute and the children were anxious to learn from us. 

Around 12noon we had lunch.  Lunch was rice with hard-boiled eggs.  After lunch, at 1pm was school.  There are about 30 children in Chup crocky between the ages of 3 and 15.  Only about 20-25 or so show up for english class.  The class is all mixed with different ages at different abilities.  Marc led the class by first going over different colors and then different english words.  He would hold up the word such as Pig, and everyone repeats and he writes it on the board and all the children practice writing it on their papers.  It was rather amusing to watch a french guy teach English to a bunch of Cambodian kids, since his prononciation was not much better than theirs, the children were learning to say English with a french accent, but didn't know the difference.

English Lesson
  So it became Peeg, instead of pig, etc.  He let us lead the lesson a bit too by saying the words and asking the children to repeat. 

School only lasted for one hour though.  After that the children would play in the school or go back home.  Steve and I stayed to watch the children play some games where they run around.  Then at 3pm, Antoine teaches a Thai lesson for half an hour to the children.  Since the village is right next to the Thai border, many people use Thai as the main language in the market, so it was also important for them to know Thai. 

After Thai class, from around 4pm until dinner which is around 6pm, there is not much to do.  Steve and I walked around to explore the village more but there was not much more to see.

Animals (rooster woke us up all night long)
  I tried to think of some games to play with the children in the next days.  And we wanted very much to know more about the village such as how they make money, if they have enough to eat, how often the children go to school and what they learn, etc.  But it was so difficult because no one spoke english very well. 

Around 6pm we had a dinner of rice with fried eggs.  I was beginning to think that eggs were the only food there was other than rice, but later meals had more variety.  Then tonight was theatre night, a once a week event.  The "theatre" meant a small TV that was run by a generator for one night, and the whole village gathered to watch it.  It started at 7pm when it was nearly dark outside.  Everyone showed up to a hut down the road and watched some Thai/Cambodian music videos and a Thai action show that was badly dubbed in Khmer (the language of Cambodia).

Number Game
  It was pretty boring for us after awhile since we didn't understand anything and were getting bitten by mosquitoes while sitting there.  So around 8pm we left and walked back with Antoine and Marc in the pitch dark with only flashlights to light our way back to our hut where we went to sleep for the night. 

-Arum

 

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The School
The School
Volunteer Home in the middle
Volunteer Home in the middle
Big Pig and 2 Little Pigs
Big Pig and 2 Little Pigs
Volunteer Home
Volunteer Home
Volunteer Home
Volunteer Home
English Lesson
English Lesson
English Lesson
English Lesson
Animals (rooster woke us up all ni…
Animals (rooster woke us up all n…
Number Game
Number Game
English Lesson
English Lesson
Waterfall (only half of it is show…
Waterfall (only half of it is sho…
Washing at the water pump
Washing at the water pump
Girl making roof sections
Girl making roof sections
3 Cambodian Kids Swinging at School
3 Cambodian Kids Swinging at School
Playing soccer
Playing soccer
Phumi Samraong (3)
photo by: ArumandSteve