Well, today has definitely been the hardest of all. None of us wanted to leave the orphanage this afternoon. It was so difficult to say goodbye to all the children and (for me) particularly Krouch. Her little face smiling & waving goodbye broke my heart and I struggled to keep control of my tears until I was in the car on the way back to Siem Reap. This orphanage will be my first port of call the next time I'm here.
We spent the day playing - painting, drawing, blowing up balloons, making paper windmills (see video), volleyball, a kick-game they have here with something which looks like an extended shuttlecock but which you hit with your hands and feet, and then after lunch we had 'Sports Day' with little stickers, pencils, erasers, and hair grips as prizes. We did the sack race with old rice sacks, egg & spoon race (but with oranges instead of eggs!), 3-legged races, tug-of-war with an old hammock (which eventually split in two!), and relay races. The children were screaming with delight! It was such a fantastic sight.
The Director was so grateful for the items we have bought - it is without doubt the best thing I have ever spent money on - and he has arranged for us to receive a certificate of thanks from the orphanage before we leave for Battambang tomorrow. As it came to the time for us to leave, the children lined up again and thanked us with smiles & sompeahs. The ladies who make baskets to sell to support the orphanage then presented us with two beautiful baskets each as a thank you present.
Spending time at the orphanage has been the most wonderful experience and I really don't know how I am going to settle back into corporate life!
I've just been to Psar Chas (the old market) to buy a couple of things, including a new pair of sunglasses as mine finally fell apart today - got a new pair of 'Ray Bans' for $5 . . . bargain! Then Laura, Ang & I are meeting up for dinner tonight at 8pm at Le Tiger Papier. They are both travelling to Battambang with me tomorrow (we are sharing a taxi for $12 each - much better than the bus!) but then we will be going our separate ways on Saturday, with me staying in Battambang for one week and Laura & Ang heading off to Phnom Penh. My time in Siem Reap has been exhilarating - mostly because of the children at Prey Chrouk and WFC Orphanage, but also because of the friends I have made, particularly with Laura & Ang.
I leave for Battambang at 8am tomorrow and will update my journal as much as possible, although it won't be as easy as here as they don't have WIFI, so I'll have to find an internet café with a decent connection!