Siem Reap - Day 5
Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 8 of 10 › view all entries
December 31st, 2007 – by: Traveller_Gin
We then went to visit an orphanage called the Sangkheum Orphanage (translates to the word Hope). The teachers that work here are volunteers and mostly are locals and they also live with the children in their little houses. This orphanage is so far different to the horror stories that I had read and heard about - it was great to see such a well run place with all details well thought out to benefit the children.
After this, I visited the War Museum which is an outdoor museum, well, collection, really of ex-military items including tanks, weapons, photos and a minefield area. This was quite interesting wandering around looking at everything - most items were labelled as to where they were found and when - it really bought it home to me how recent the Khmer atrocities are in modern history - many of the tanks were recovered in fields around Siemp Reap in the late 1990's and some in early 2000/2001. I didn't really know much about artillery, but I would imagine if someone has a good knowledge of military things they would find this to be quite interesting. I think I would have benefitted from having a guide here, but most things are labelled.
I visited Handicap International which is an NGO that had been built up by a group in Belgium originally which has now grown to an international organisation. The focus of Handicap International is to assist land mine victims. Here, a team of people concentrate on seeking people who need assistance and by providing prosthetic limbs and rehabiliting land mine victims. They explained that there are still on average 2 land mine accidents per day somewhere in Cambodia - it's still such a sobering thought. I visited the areas where they construct the prosthetics and they explained the process - extremely interesting and so worthy of support from the wider community.
After this, I visited another orphanage run by an Australian ex-pat who basically volunteers 11 months out of the year there. This orphanage was called The Green Gecko Project and again, looked to be run really well and I met the director who was as down to earth an Aussie you could get - it was nice to hear the Aussie accent from someone who is making a serious difference to the lives of others much less fortunate. I met some of the kids and volunteers there and everyone was so welcoming. My last visit was back once again to see my friends at the Angkor Association for Disabled. I wanted to spend some more time there with Sem and his team and he was gracious again for my visit.
I was quite drained from my day of project visits.....and after freshening up at the hotel, went back into town to treat myself to another massage (well I was on holidays I figured!) at the Bodia spa and then to my most expensive meal for the entire trip - all $11USD of it - at Indochine which I could very highly recommend. Being New Years Eve, I headed back into Pub Street, to you guessed it, The Red Piano where I met up with some more locals and tourists alike. Although this was very much a different New Years Eve that I had been used to living in Sydney where the fireworks display alone could sustain a small underdeveloped country for a year I'm sure, the town definitely went off at New Years Eve and it was a great party atmosphere.
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