Settling in for a few weeks
Trip Start May 31, 2011
28Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Getting off the bus in a downpour made us feel at home immediately! We were greeted by Srey, the school director and taken on a whistlestop tour of the small town and out for lunch.
Kampot itself is definitely on the backpacker map and there's plenty of guesthouses, bars and cafes that can be found serving just about every sort of cusine you could imagine
Of course, the rugby world cup has started already so we quickly located several places that
should be showing the games we want to see. Heidi's Mum is now extremely jealous as we will probably get to watch more games than her!! The other quick find was the local weekly poker game. Tony's been missing his monthly game with the boys back in Glasgow so a weekly game for the next few weeks might just make up for it (if only they had the wrestling on as well)!
The staff and children at the school have also helped us feel right at home straight away. We've been invited out to the local street aerobics (Tony even joined in at one point), played volleyball, had Khmer/dancing/instrument lessons and have been taken out for street food. We've still managed to avoid the infamous Cambodian delicacy of boiled duck embryo still in the egg (ranging from 2 days to 2 weeks before hatching - crunchy ... and feathery)!!
KCDI have very kindly offered us the use of their guest room for the duration of Tony's placement
7.30am to 11am - work
11am to 2pm - lunch and siesta
2pm - 5pm - work
In addition to the room, the school helps us out with our laundry and food on working days which we give a donation for in exchange. Considering there's no such thing as a microwave, oven or washing machine at the school, this is a big help. Having said that, our staple diet is now fish and rice three times a day. Tony is literally shrinking before everyone's eyes having lost around three stone since we started this trip and our new diet will give him the extra brain power he needs to get things done.
Of course, we're not the only people who are living in the room. We are regularly visited by many geckos, Lenny the giant lizard (who has one girlfriend living behind the fridge and another behind the chest of drawers), mosquitos and other insects. In particular, if we leave the door open long enough at night, we're visited by beetles. That's right John, Paul, George and Ringo all buzz into the room and head straight for the hot pink mosquito net to get stoned on permethrin and make their music, mostly around Tony's side (thank goodness, Hx)
There's also the dogs that have set up house on the school grounds (which have lately taken to howling outside our door during the night, grrr) and the two resident cows whenever we step out the front door!! KCDI bought cows soon after it opened its doors to orphans as those from rural areas missed looking after the cows in the villages - cute story really!
The school is really a unique place, where children from very disadvantaged backgrounds (previously due to the Khmer Rouge, but now for social or medical reasons ie. from poverty or AIDS) are given care - a bed, clothing, food, school materials, health care, and so on. The school also helps to preserve Cambodia's cultural heritage by teaching the children traditional art forms as a form of therapy.
We've been lucky enough to see some performances and they really are superb. Click here to see a short clip.