Our next stop was a sudden and unexpected one. It was a favour done on behalf of my good friend, Wenyan; which consequently led us in doing good deed too.
Wenyan went to Cambodia 6 months before mine. While vacationing, she was saddened with the fact that the children in Cambodia lost their parents due to war (with Khmer Rouge) and landmines. Hence, she vowed to donate the remaining USD50 from her trip to the orphanage. However she couldn’t place the donation herself in the airport, thus asking me to donate on her behalf.
She did tell me to bank in the money to the orphanage of her choice (which she included in) – if we couldn’t go to the orphanage or see any donation box for children welfare.
However, I couldn’t do so as by the time we finished our tour in Angkor, the bank already closed.
So, Sat told our tour guide, Siya about Wenyan’s intention of donating money to orphanage. Lucky for us, Siya’s sister is working in NGO for children’s welfare and he called up his sister for advice.
I can’t recall if he asked us to pass the money to his sister or not, but I think we told him that we want to personally give the money to the orphanage and I added in that I don’t want the money to fall into wrong hands.
Siya understood and told us that we could stop by an orphanage centre on the way back from Prasat Kravan.
But then, we went back directly to our lodge. On the way back, Siya told us that there is one nearby our lodge and suggested us to buy rice from the market for them instead of donating money.
Which made us asked him, “how much is a bag of rice?“
“USD50 per bag of 50kg.”
Which was then the decision of chipping in the money to USD100 to buy 2 bags of rice arised. I mean it doesn’t look good going all the way to the orphanage just to send in a bag of rice. Afterall, we as a human aren’t made of cold heart – should do charity if we could. So the suggestion of everyone paid equally of about USD7 or more if one insisted came up too.
Thinking back, contributing RM24.50 to charity is like so little only! –”
Everyone agreed, and off we went to our lodge for quick shower and dressed up for that night was our last night in Cambodia.
Since the guys were faster in showering as compared to the girls, the guys went to the market with Siya and our van driver to get the rice. Which was a good thing as we could rest a little longer. Kaka!
However we weren’t that slow. After we were done, we walked down and waited for the van.
Though a minor dispute happened – but we got our rice! And off we went to the orphanage with excited heart. I don’t know bout the rest, but I know I was super excited in meeting them. Kaka!
The orphanage is situated opposite a paddy field, a few streets away from our lodge, well hidden from the main road. The orphanage itself is a stilted kampung house with extended building at the back, and a big land for the kids to run around.
Mr van driver (I feel so bad for not remembering his name ) parked his van at the side of the fence and the guys quickly unloaded the rice bags after getting down from the van.
The kids were playing in front of the kampung house and when we reached, they stopped and stood in a line, looking at us either shyly or cheekily.
The ‘father’ of the orphanage walked to us after knowing he has visitors. Seeing the bags of rice, he kept saying thank you nonstop and bowing at us – as though we were Japanese. Lol.
He then signalled the kids to say HELLO to us!
Which was rather funny as they repeated it after we hello-ed at them back. Then the owner explained to us about the orphanage. Took us for a little tour around his ‘castle’. He used to be a tour guide, but knowing that the kids roamed around the cities and having no place to cover their head and sleep, he decided to open up an orphanage and went around the market and roads taking kids in. One of the boys is a victim of landmine who lost one of his legs. One of the girls is tested positive for HIV and she doesn’t even know about it. They keep it a secret from her and the rest of the kids because they want her to have a normal life and not being outcast by the rest.
My heart saddens upon hearing that – that’s why I can still remember all these details though it has been more than a year.
He asked us if we want to look around the area. Gladly we said yes! while Siya waited for us patiently at the water well with our van driver. Yes, they have their own well like the kampung house in Malaysia! Haha!
He led us to the kitchen, and introduced us to his cooks and other caretakers. If not mistaken there were 2 ladies in the kitchen, cooking a big pot of rice and soup.
He then explained what the children normally ate. And told us that the 2 bags of rice we donated could last them 2 weeks.
2 WEEKS?! We repeated, astonishingly.
He said, yes. 2 weeks. Because rice is their staple food and they have about 17 kids and 4 caretakers to feed. That’s why 2 weeks.
Seriously, after hearing that I wish I could donate another bag of rice.
He then led us up to the ladies bedroom.
The place is small, but surprisingly neat! Unlike my room! Haha! There are 2 types of bed in it. A king and a queen size bed. If not mistaken, the lady caretakers and the 4 young girls sleep on the King size bed while the younger boys sleep on the queen size bed.
But I know that the owner aka caretaker and the few older boys sleep in the room downstairs.
After a quick look and snaps by the rest (I didn’t bring my DSLR out, therefore the pictures here all stolen with permission from the Satkuru, Aaron and Emily!), we went down.
There is a hut in front of the kampung house and a vegetable farm at the side of the house.
The hut is the place where the children learn and study after school. Mr Caretaker/Owner told us that he taught the children himself when he’s free, but sometimes if the visitors drop by, they would teach the children English too! He even asked us if we wanna teach the kids awhile. But because we were in a hurry (need to go somewhere else later), that’s why we couldn’t spend much time there. Or else I would love to mingle around with the children and teach them a little bit of Mathematics! Haha!
Besides being taught by Mr Caretaker/Owner and visitors, the children, especially the girls also learn Apsara dance steps once a week from a volunteer who is a dancer.
As for the vegetable farm, they grow their own vegetable to reduce their marketing expenses and also to instill hardworking attitude in the kids.
Done with the introduction and explanation, Mr Caretaker/Owner then asked the kids to sing songs to us.
Which they did!
They sang few songs. One is the Hello Hello song, which everyone knows and we sang the ‘hello hello’ part too. Lol. While singing they clapped hands too, which we followed too! Some of them sang louder and louder until at a certain point, it seemed like shouting rather than singing. Lol.
They then sing Khmer songs which we didn’t understand but really appreciated that. I wish Wenyan could be there to witness all these, but since she can’t, we took numerous videos which Sat joined them together into one!
With heavy hearts, we said goodbye to the kids as it was the time for us to run and head to our next destination. Before leaving, we took a group photo with them!
Which supposed to be nice… until Mr Caretaker/Owner asked the kids to do the YEAHHHHH! Pose! Kantoi kao kao. Aaron’s face totally BLOCKED!
Here’s the video Sat compiled.