Elya’s Cambodian Adventure
I thought this excerpt from my daughter Elya’s email would be interesting to pass on to those following the story. Her reflections of Battambang, Cambodia are priceless and take away my self-pity resulting from having her so far away.
After reading the email, I went to teach those “spoiled American students.” What a rough day I had with defiant youth arguing in my face, storming around the classroom, and swearing at the computers. WOW! I wish I could have them experience the following:
“About six in the morning we ventured out to a neighboring open market for breakfast. The market was an adventure all of its own. Surrounding the market, hundreds of women squatted in a foot of water while selling their fresh vegetables and fish. The front part of the market is arranged similar to an outdoors farmer’s market except you can order cooked food and they have tables around each vender so that you can sit and eat. For about $1.50 we both had ice coffee and breakfast.
After breakfast we wandered throughout the rest of the market. The second part, which is further indoors, is a site no vegetarian could ever bear witness. About fifty or so venders sit in booths selling anything from pig heads, brains, hooves, skinned chickens, and an assortment of meat from unknown sources. There is no refrigeration so flies are everywhere, and leftovers tossed idly on the ground. It was an absolutely amazing site.
We made our way to the Marie Maison School around 9:00am. The classroom has a concrete floor, wooden benches, a metal roof, and a single whiteboard at the front. Mom if your students ever complain about their school, you can shut them up with pictures of these classrooms. There is something very humbling about the school and the student’s eagerness to learn. It definitely makes American students seem spoiled and ungrateful, ha ha.
We sat in on several classes, taught the students how to play Pictionary and Charades, and made several new friends. The teachers are all male, kind and respectful, and very welcoming of us. The students are all in either their teens or twenties and speak at about a beginner level in English. They are amazing. They are all very sweet, shy, respectful, and hard-working. Almost all of them attend public school or university in addition to their language classes. I am absolutely enjoying my time here so far and look forward to the next few weeks. I enjoy being in the classroom and would consider teaching in the states if the students were this great. More to come later!”