Week Two

Child on a moto

After spending the weekend touring Phnom Penh with Laurie and Michelle, it was back to our day jobs on Monday morning. We are now teaching 6 to 15 kids at a time ranging in age from 7 to 16. The age range and schedules of these kids has made it challenging to keep who knows what straight. Luckily, none of them know a lot so there is a lot we can teach them. We started off with the essentials–Boom Chick-a-boom (a silly reply game that teaches words like louder, softer, faster, slower, etc.) and the human knot game (pretty much self-explanatory). The funny thing is they loved these games and everyday have asked to play them again and again. Kids here aren’t much different than those back home. Needless to say our hearts have easily been won over by these kids. We are sure they are trouble but the language barrier seems to smooth some of that over. We are nearing the end of one week with them which is hard to believe and have made arrangements to spend a second week with them as well.


So this week an average day looks like this: Get up around 7am, finish lesson plans, make breakfast (still loving the fruit/muesli/yogurt combo with toast) and then down to meet our tuk tuk driver Hua around 9am. Normally you walk out of the building with drivers shouting “tuk tuk, tuk tuk sir?” but now they call for Hua letting him know we are coming. So far we have learned that Hua has six children, the youngest is 18 months and the oldest is 20 years old. Not sure how he supports a family as a tuk tuk driver but he seem content and is always very happy. We decided he would be our driver because the first time we rode with him he offered a fair price without dickering. We figured good business practices should be rewarded. Plus, he has been a very safe driver and is very pleasant for the 25 min (2 mile) commmute we have with him. We get there around 9:30am and within 10-15 minutes lessons begin. We are working on basic conversation intermixed with games and stories to keep it interesting (we hope). After two hours of teaching, singing, and playing games it’s time for lunch. It has been really good to be a part of the lunch scene. Eating rice, tofu, chicken, veggies, pork, and soy sauce (which we have learned is much lighter than the Chinese soy sauce we have at home, actually we prefer it). After lunch we take a nap (meaning John takes a nap) and we start class again around 1:30pm. It feels more challenging in afternoon because only half the girls were there at morning session. So what to teach? Were are trying to get the girls from the morning to help teach the afternoon class. It has worked pretty well so far. By 4pm everyone is pretty well tired of learning and we join in on whatever games they are playing: a strange game jump rope, tag with the jelly flyer (soft frisbee), boom chick-a-boom, human knot, and today we taught them some origami (really they taught us). By 5pm we are leaving by tuk tuk or on foot and are back home by 6pm.

We weren’t sure how our week of teaching was going to go after the first day as there was construction going on across the

Our Classroom

street all day. There was some sort of motor running that sounded like constant jack hammering. Our throats hurt from having to speak so loudly and our heads hurt from 7 hours of that noise. It also made it difficult to tell the girls to be quiet or for them to hear how we were pronouncing things. Thankfully, Tuesday and Wednesday have been relatively quiet in comparison but is still 10 times louder than our street at home. Our new contact at this teaching center has been a good resource and helps translate throughout the day, which is a huge benefit. We are very glad we will be with this group for 2 weeks as they are full of energy and eagerness to learn.


We still love our “home” at the Golden Tour Eiffel Guesthouse and are getting spoiled by CNN, HBO, The Discovery Channel, and other cable channels we don’t subscribe to at home. Planning to do some more sight seeing with Laurie and Michelle over the weekend and will definitely need some rest after the energy consumed this week.

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4 Responses to Week Two

  1. Joel Bock says:

    What a great experience! And way to go on introducing those sweet games/songs…I’m taken back to the days of Tilikum.

  2. john says:

    It all leads back to Tilikum. They especially love the game boom chick a boom. Looks like your trip middle east was amazing. Can’t wait to read more about it. Glad you made it back safely.


  3. Kim says:

    So glad you are finding a little “home” in Cambodia. It sounds like this place has been a bit different in that respect. It sounds like a great experience! I can’t wait to talk to you in person and hear all your stories!

    Love you guys!

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