Initially I was really secretly a little bummed about my placement but I thought it might have been me being apprehensive about it all and nervous. I’d also made really good friends with a lot of the people staying at the volunteer house and going to Siem Reap and after seeing the almost uni-like nature of living with a huge bunch of people, the thought of going to a far away province in the north with a much smaller group was a bit off putting (and nerve racking to have to teach English when we all know English has never been my strongest point-but at least I’ll be the first to admit that).
After saying our goodbyes with hopes of weekend adventures together again we all left of a very small mini bus (really it was more a van) down the first concreted road I’d seen since arriving in Cambodia. No seat belts and at an incredible speed we flew past the most amazing landscapes of rural Cambodia (do not be deterred by it being “the wet season” yes it’s horrible humid, but the landscape is so luscious you’d be silly to miss it, and it’s rained for probably 15 minutes in the 6 days I’ve been in Asia). Past rice fields and cute little Cambodia hut houses, kids riding bicycles and ladies cooking up tonight’s dinner with game motor cyclists riding along side (I’m describing this all vividly because we were driving at a pace in which it were impossible to snap up photos of anything more than a blur).
Stepping out of the bus and into a tuk tuk the first thing we all noticed was how seemingly peaceful it is in Pursat compared to Phenom Penh. As we drove up to our house my eyes was almost outside of their sockets…this house is ginormous and home of Mr and Mrs Leng (our parents for the next month)! Quickly I might add… I didn’t elect a home stay, this too I was at first disheartened about, immediately now I take that back! Down stairs live two volunteers each to their own room and the rest of the family whom of which the father is a doctor and runs a clinic from the downs stairs too (this is super handy!), the mother sews clothes for the monks and the daughter is studying to be a nurse, their grandma also lives with them too. Mr Leng and his daughter are the only ones that can speak English so I’m going to have to brush up on my Khmer. I am living upstairs (photos to come) sharing a room, though I swear the beds we each have are almost big enough to be doubles. And another two volunteers are next door. We have huge outdoor eating area and two bathrooms upstairs and another big communal area which seems to be where the Leng’s would pray. I’m buying a bike tomorrow (i couldn’t resist for $40) to get myself to and from my orphanage and around the town (it’s small enough that this is all i’ll need) and then I’m going to donate it to the orphanage when I leave. All my disappointment has transformed and turned into a huge rush of excitement to be here.