|We were in Pursat the second time around just over 3 weeks. It was amazing how quickly the time passed in those few weeks. We continued with our projects and also teaching our classes.
We were joined by Amelia from New Zealand and Paul and Marika from the US. The 5 of us were invited to the wedding of Phalla, who is the Educational Manager at SC. The girls and I decided to get traditional Khmer dresses made for the wedding. We had a tailor in the market make our dresses and it costs only $17 for the fabric and to sew it.
The first day of the wedding started at 7am which meant we had to wake up for the wedding at 5:30 to be there on time. It is crazy to me that they get married so early in the morning, but then again it is the only time in Cambodia where the sun isn't melting you. This part of the wedding is for the groom to make his way to the bride's house along with all of his friends and family carrying offerings to the family. So about 200 of us all carrying anything from sodas, fruit, and money walked in a line to the brides. Once there all of the offerings are presented to the family. The second day of the ceremony is mainly the party or reception. There were 1,100 people there! All under the tents eating, drinking and dancing.
Funny thing happened a couple of days after the wedding.... Nick was asked by a new radio station if he would do an advertisement on the radio for a new language school. His commercial runs everyday 4 times a day. He even heard it when he was sitting at the bus stop one day. The fame is going to his head a bit...
Toward the end of our stint in Pursat Amelia, Nick, and I were invited to join Soknay (SC National Coordinator) at his family's farm near the city of Battambang. The eight (us, him, his wife and 3 kids) of us in his little car drove through a maze of rural unsealed roads way out in the boonies. The farm was absolutly beautiful. It was so quiet and peaceful. His family made wonderful meals for us and we all slept in the main house together on mats on the bamboo floors. Soknay let Nick drive all of us over to a small zoo and swimming hole while we were there. Nick said it was really weird to be driving after 3 months of not.
When we got back we only had a couple of more days and that is when it really started setting in that we were leaving for good. There were many intense crying sessions with our students and also some of the friends that we had made. It was so hard to leave these beautiful people who had taken such good care of us. They are the truest most genuine people. Nick and I feel so lucky to have met them all, as well as the kids that we sponser, Sothearn and Sophorn and their families. Amelia, Wendy, Nick and I are going to have a reunion here someday in the future.
I sent out a an email recently after a couple of inquiries from some of you asking how you can help... It was wonderful that you were as touched by these children as we were. If you are interested in helping you can go to sustainablecambodia.com. You can choose to sponser a child from a poor family and give them the means to get an education. By doing this you are helping to break the cycle for some of these poor familys. This pays for all of the child's schooling, books, supplies, basic healthcare, and also for a bike to get to and from school. This also helps to pay the salaries of the teachers who make less than $100 a month, which is a lot $ in Cambodia. $150 for a year will pay for all of this, about the cost of the average monthly electric bill at home or maybe a pair of shoes....
Another option for you if $150 is a bit too much, is to make a small donation... If you think that $20 is nothing, it is definatly not in Cambodia. This is roughly enough to feed a family of four rice for about 2 months.
Thanks to all of you who choose to help this small organization and the beautiful children that it has helped. I promise you that 100% goes to the school, familys and projects to better the life of the Cambodians in Pursat. Nick and I have seen this with our own eyes. The only people on the payroll for SC are the staff who are all Cambodian. This is rare from what I have seen in Cambodia. A lot of the other organizatins here have mostly western people working here which just takes more jobs away from the Cambodian people.
After our tearful goodbye, Amelia, Nick and I headed north to the town of Siem Reap. Here is one of the most famous World Heritage sites in the world... Angkor Wat. Will update with photos from here soon...