Tryin' my hand in Battambang....

Trip Start Jan 07, 2008
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26
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Trip End Jul 22, 2008


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Where I stayed
Chhaya Hotel

Flag of Cambodia  , Battambang,
Friday, May 9, 2008

I find myself still in Battambang, Cambodia's 3rd largest city (even though none of the cities are really that big), after almost a week. I am trying my hand at teaching english once again...and feeling a bit more successful already than my attempt in Malawi.

While in Cambodia i've been keeping my eyes peeled for volunteer opportunities to just try to help a wee bit. On Sunday a motobike guy started talking to me as i was walking down the street (as they do very often asking if i need a ride)... i kept walking trying to deter him as i didn't feel like talking and didn't need a motobike ride. Then he started talking aboot this english school that he's in charge of which needs volunteers so naturally that grabbed my attention and i stopped to talk to him. Today is my last day to teach as i wanted to do a week...only a few hours a day though in the late afternoon. It's a free english school that any kids can attend after their 'normál' school. A couple (American guy and cambodian woman) started it a few years ago and rely purely on volunteers and donations to keep it going. There are a few other teachers there, all Cambodian that work there everyday for free...amazing! So Kamnoth, the motobike guy picks me everyday, aboot a 10min ride.

The first day i literally just get thrown into it. He shows me the classroom and then just leaves me...i explain i at least need a textbook, need to know what level they are at and a marker to write on the board would be nice. I get all those things within seconds and i'm on my own again...so i just wing it...think getting thrown into it (like anything) can be the best way. I take the textbooks home with me and prepare a 'lesson plan' each day thereafter so i have something to go off of and some examples. I teach 2 different classes and the students are amazing...they sit relatively still and at least look like they're listening and trying to make out what i'm saying. The kids are 14-20 yrs old i think and the classes only have aboot 20 students and they have at least a very basic concept of english...unlike in Malawi where there were 100 kids aged 5-12 with no english. So i feel like they understand a little bit.. which is nice. To be honest, i enjoy it more and more each day...

Battambang, itself, there is not a lot to do or see...just go with the slow pace by sitting by the river or renting a bicycle. Im not sure how i have let the time go by exactly...i did rent a bike and ventured to some villages, read a lot, internet a lot, sitting by the river. The first day i was here i did get a motobike guy to drive me to a few villages and to a few temples quite a way out of the city so it was lovely to see the village life...obviously people living in the city have quite a bit more money than the farmers or peasants..so you can notice the difference in the way of living.

I'm glad the work found me here and was able to help like i envisioned...get a feel for teaching english and for the kids. Im now looking forward to moving on to a new city, experiencing a new environment as i am feeling a bit anxious and still craving some good ól company...taking a boat i think to the next stop Siam Reap, to see one of the seven manmade wonders of the world!
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