8th July through 1st August 2015. Madeline and Frederik from Switzerland.
After a long flight from Switzerland to Cambodia we finally arrived in Phnom Penh. Sokrath (Executive director of GU) and Sam (Program Manager of GU) were waiting for us at the airport and we drove together to the organization’s place (Wat Chambok Bitmeas Pagoda, Putsor Commune). They showed us our room and we were very happy about it, although it was just a small room with two big beds and a fan. But it was better than we had expected.
After we dropped off our luggage Sokrath showed us the commune and Green Umbrella’s Karuna Kumar School (KKS). He told us a lot about Cambodia’s sad past, about the poverty in the commune… Impressed by his words, but also shocked about the poverty and desperation we’ve seen during this walk, we went back to the Pagoda where we would stay the next 3 weeks.
For dinner Sam took us on his motorcycle to a small “restaurant”. This “restaurant ” was just a small room with some tables. The family, who is running this “restaurant” is very gentle and friendly. The food we ate, was excellent, cheap and varied.
The next day we went to the KKS and met the teachers and the children. KKS is a wooden building based on Khmer architecture and we were excited to meet everyone. The 45 kids are between five and ten years old. They are divided into a kindergarten class, grade 1 and grade 2. It is such fun to teach the children and to play with them! To see them smiling and being happy is so wonderful and made us smile as well. The KKS is like a refuge for some of the kids where they can learn and play in peace and calm, and forget the hard life outside of school. We also worked in the office of Green Umbrella, where we could help the staff. We created a new profile on betterplace.org, where GU in the future will be able to collect donations for their projects (see www.betterplace.org/en/projects/32069).
Volunteering for and with Green Umbrella is an experience that is worth it. We were there for three weeks and it never got boring. In this time we met a lot of people, who were all so friendly. They shared everything with us, although they don’t have much.
We can recommend Green Umbrella to all Volunteers in the world. It’s a very small organization but this is exactly what makes it so familiar.
We want to thank Sokrath, Samrath, Samrong and the rest of the staff to have made us feel at home and were so kind They helped us when something went wrong and made our stay so wonderful and exciting.
We admire your courage and self-sacrifice for your work. Keep going on!