Set off at 8am for the 'Working For Children' Orphanage which is a Cambodian NGO established to help orphans and a small number of the poorest children in Puok District, which is about 1 hour from Siem Reap by car.
Laura and Ang have moved to the orphanage with me and when we arrived we were greeted by the Founder - Pol Pean - and his colleague, who is the most delightful lady and held on tightly to both Laura's hand and mine. She doesn't speak any English but it was perfectly clear that she was delighted that we were there to help. The orphanage has only been open a year and very few people visit them.
All the children were lined up to meet us and they gave us the formal 'JOOM-reap-soo-a' greeting with sompeah (hands pressed together), which in Khmer culture is how a child should address an elder. It was so lovely.
Well, this place is wonderful. There are 41 children, boys and girls, aged between 5 and 17, and they sleep in two rooms. They have so very little, with grubby clothes, and only rice to eat, but they smile all the time and their little faces were an absolute picture when we emptied our bags of footballs, badminton rackets, balloons, crayons, paints, and craft items. The first thing we had them doing was making long link chains with coloured paper, which we hung from the trees, and we also had some glow-in-the-dark stickers of ducks, dolphins, and stars, which we placed in the rooms they sleep in. Then we spent an hour playing games - Ang was in charge of football with the boys, Laura played badminton with some of the girls, and I set up hopscotch (with the use of twigs) and had both girls & boys hopping up & down, picking up a little ball of dried mud because I couldn't find a stone! Just before lunch we did a conga around the garden, with the children screaming with laughter. It was such a wonderful sight!
After lunch half of the children went off to the local school and we spent a couple of hours teaching English to the ones who stayed behind. They are so bright and their brains are like little sponges!
We can't wait to go back tomorrow and we know even now how hard it is going to be to leave on Thursday . . . .
. . . . and to make it even more difficult, I have fallen head over heals in love with the little girl on the right in the above photo!
To help the orphanage I am buying 4 bicycles for the older children to travel to the secondary school 8km away (the bicycles are $20 each and they ride 2/3 to a bike!), 3 month's supply of rice, and a bag of flip-flops (as most of them are bare-foot). I wish I could give so much more . . . .
See more photos in the 'WFC Orphanage' album!