Aimia continued their community outreach in two different schools over two days before travelling to Siem Reap, where they will visit more schools and explore another district. Sarah from the team has shared her thoughts with us here.
‘We all travelled to Kouk Dong primary school ready to play some sports with the children. The four sports included sack racing, hurdles, running and relay. The children were all split up into three groups, red, blue and yellow, before becoming extremely competitive. The children loved the sports, and were able to engage with us. After this, Reasmey kindly took us to some local places to allow us to really immerse ourselves within the Cambodian culture. We visited a rice paper farm, and then a Pagoda, which ended the day nicely.
Another reflection ensued, and today, out of all days, seemed to be everyone’s favourite. Despite arriving at a school which had very little space to carry out the sports activities, we managed to make it work. I feel like I am slowly changing my perspective on both SeeBeyondBorders and my broader understanding of Cambodia. I am slowly learning to stop looking at SeeBeyondBorders through a business lens, and look at the values that are being implemented to enable long-term change.
Another early morning, which is slowly starting to take its toll. People are emotionally and physically drained, partly because of the heat but also because of the effort this requires. Nevertheless, we travelled to Rohalsoung Primary School for a health activity day. This consists of teaching children proper hygiene techniques, from brushing their teeth to washing their hands.
We set up three stations, one for hand-washing, the other for teeth-brushing, and the last for height and weight measurements. Many of the children had never held a toothbrush before, despite being between the ages of 5 and 10. One child went up to an elder and pointed at his missing teeth, before saying something in Khmer. The locals laughed: I imagine we can all guess what he said!
The height and weight data is recorded to determine how many children are stunted and underweight. SeeBeyondBorders will share this data with a health center or NGO who can help underweight children.
After a busy morning, we spent the afternoon taking in some local attractions and sites of cultural and historical significance. We went to Phnom Sampeau, known for its ‘bat caves’ (a spectacular sight when the bats fly out of the caves en masse at sunset), but also for its darker history. During the Pol Pot regime, the Khmer Rouge killed and buried people in the caves, a truly horrific story.
The following day we kayaked down the Sangker river in Battambang, where we met laughing children, to fisherman, as well as a lot of rubbish!
We travelled to Siem Reap later that day and were greeted by an entirely different world. Large hotel complexes, lots of tourists and extremely western bars.’
Check back for more updates from the team’s experiences in Siem Reap.