By Banu Priya, Year 3, Diploma in Nursing
There are certain affluent countries with people who enjoy living in luxury, but on the other hand, Cambodians are content to live simply. NYP gave students like us an opportunity to experience Cambodia through the eyes of the locals with the YEP (Youth Expedition Project).
Reconstructing Their Playground
Illustration 1: The first step was to scrap off the old layer of paint. We wore masks and hats to protect ourselves from the dust. Scraping required some hard work from our side. But we managed to pull through as a team.
Illustration 2: After scraping off the old layer of paint we laid a foundation layer called primer paint. This was to increase the durability of the paint.
This is the picture of the playground once it was completed. The children came rushing to it and thoroughly enjoyed playing in their newly refurbished playground. All the YEP team members were extremely happy and satisfied as our hard work had paid off and the results were the smiles on the children's faces.
Foundation for flagpole
Illustration 3: Using the shovel to dig up the ground was hard work!
Illustration 4: Both students and the school children worked hand in hand to shift the sand to the flagpole area. This teamwork bonded us to the kids and made our work much more enjoyable :)
Illustration 6: There were many times where the children clung onto us out of affection and love. There were many touching moments like these which melted our hearts. It gave us the drive to work harder to provide a better environment for these children.
Illustration 7: This picture was taken after the playground was completed. We enjoyed our remaining time playing with the kids.
Illustration 8: Apart from refurbishing their playground and constructing the foundation for their flagpole we also taught them English for an hour during the weekdays. We taught them according to their class levels, which were classified as elementary, intermediate and expert level.
Of course during our 13 days we not only worked hard but we went shopping and sight seeing as well. Here are a few popular sights in Cambodia!
Illustration 9: This is a picture of the Central Market. It’s something like Bugis Street where everything is bargainable. It’s possible to purchase popular brands at really affordable prices and that’s why this place is a popular tourist attraction.
Illustration 10: This is the royal palace. This is where the king resides. It is really big and beautiful and there are many Buddha statues inside. Thousands of Cambodians and tourists come to see this palace and worship the Buddha. There are also certain dress code restrictions, and we weren't allowed to wear anything above the knee or wear revealing clothes.
Illustration 11: On one of the days, we went on a boat ride along Mekong river. The journey took about an hour. Along the river, we saw some fishermen, their floating houses, and much more.
Illustration 12: This is one of the floating houses along the Mekong river. It can be bought or rented for holiday purposes as it has a spectacular view of the river!
Before we left Andong village school we hosted a farewell dinner for the children and staff. We cooked local delicacies like Chicken Curry, Roti Kirai, Konyaku jelly and Jembut Jembut (made of banana). This was to give them a feel of Singapore and share with them our culture. We also showed them a video made of photos that we took with them and the great times we shared.
After 13 days in Phnom Penh it was time to venture to the next state - Siem Reap. In Siem Reap we volunteered at Teabanh Komrou Primary School. We helped to paint the anterior of the school. Though we spent a shorter time in this school than Andong village school, we still managed to build rapport with the children through various games. These children were more reserved and were a little hesitant to talk to us initially but we eventually broke that communication barrier.
In Siem Reap one of the biggest tourist attractions is the Angkor Wat. Built in the 12th century it is a historical site that is preserved till today. The buildings are simply spectacular and the architecture was outstanding. Here are a few pictures of Angkor Wat.