Day XXXVI – April 23
Two more girls came in late last night, Patrizia [29, Germany] and Rikke [24, Denmark] from Iceland. They will be my teammates, also here for 2 weeks.
The others leave before we sit down for breakfast, to start their workweek at the orphanage.
Mr. Ear, whose English is a little poorer but still pretty good, comes over to introduce us to the program.
He tells us about Greenway -on internet called Green Lion- the volunteering organisation, and different projects they host also in Thailand and Laos, also with animals.
We will be teaching English at one of the public schools; there are 2 in this small town, besides the private school. Luckily we’ll have the help of a translator.
But before we get started, this morning we will be shown around town.
The streets are made of red sand.
Outside of the main road the houses are far away and most of them are no more than little bamboo cottages, just one floor, elevated on poles, with the families gathered on the porch waving and shouting greetings at us. Everybody seems so happy here!
The town isn’t big at all, but there’s plenty of bustle going on around the market, where the fruits shine in a splendor of colours and the fish are still squirming on display.
When we come back another great meal is waiting for us. We sit down and enjoy the cabbage rice-dish and dazzling dragonfruit that makes up in looks what it lacks in taste.
It’s nice to sit around the table, the 3 of us all writing our journals, looking around, flirting back a bit with that cute babygirl.
While I fell asleep in a hammock during siesta today, a fly –I suppose anyway, I heard stories of flies that do this- tore away more than a square centimeter of skin of my leg. And I didn’t notice a thing!
Like I said, I’d heard of this phenomenon, but it sounds more like that spider-laying-eggs-under-your-skin kind of surreal story. It’s starting to turn a pink fleshy colour now, really nasty.
Then it’s time for a class on some basics of the culture and language.
It’s funny how all these people, in every single country, have to make it sound like theirs is the best and only right one, even if the differences are only minor, from each other, and in essence, from ours.
Khmer is a very different tongue, hard for us to pronounce. Here, try this: “Suar s’day, ta nyea sok sobai? Knyom chmuch Merel, knyom ayou mapai pran booi.” “Hello, how are you? My name is Merel and I’m 26 years old.”
And before we know it our time is up and it’s already dinnertime. We spend our evening just hanging out in the hammocks or on the balcony, playing cardgames.
Just as I’m marveling at the sky that is now turning pink, lid far ahead by another lightning storm, Patrizia says “Amazing how the sky looks so different in every country.” Well this Khmer one sure is a winner!
Anything-goes Asia: Where it is manditory to cover up, shoulders to knees at least, but village kids usually run around in a shirt, and only a shirt.