Excerpts from my second Red Cross Report

Work in Cambodia
My tasks within S.C.A.O. have slightly changed. Before Leon and me didn’t really split the tasks and both of us were just doing everything that needed to be done at certain times. Now that our tasks have been split I’m responsible for all administrative tasks within S.C.A.O and working closely together with our director, Mr. Sameth. All tasks have been split into so-called “teams” at the S.C.A.O. Center. Leon is the team leader of Education and I’m the team leader of Administration. In addition we have a team leader of the family and the kids, which is Aleix from Spain.
So now I answer all emails from the information account and the emails from the volunteering account. I also do the volunteer planning and work together with our partner organization AIESEC in sending over new volunteers. […]
I still teach, however not that much. The only class that I’ve never given up for anyone else to teach is my Pre-Intermediate class from 5.30 to 6.30. This class has been taught by me for six months already. It is wonderful to see their progress and do more and more content focused projects with them. At the end of January I let them work in groups to work on their own presentations about creating a law to improve Cambodia. They enjoyed it a lot and came up with so many great ideas, that I actually hope are going to be used one day, for example ideas on how to prevent domestic violence and saving the Cambodian rainforest. Sometimes I still teach beginner classes, but really only when there are no other volunteers around. […]
Life in Cambodia
At the moment I’m still living at the S.C.A.O. center in Boeng Chhouk. However I’m planning to move out the end of April, and move into an apartment in Phnom Penh together with Emilly.
Life at the Center hasn’t really changed a lot, except for the fact that I spend a lot of my time in the internet café, since I can’t really concentrate on work when I sit downstairs at the Center having a bunch of kids and some volunteers constantly around me, asking questions or wanting to play. I really enjoy life at the center, but it has beenI really enjoy life at the center, but I’ve realized that I need a quiet surrounding to actually get my work done.
I spend a lot of time with the volunteers from SCAO but I’ve also started hanging out more with Khmer people. For example on Valentine’s Day I met with a bunch of my students and we all spent the day together, walking through Phnom Penh and taking funny pictures. It’s probably not what I would ever do with my friends in Germany, but it is great to be introduced into this aspect of Khmer culture and learn about Cambodian friendships. I’ve also attended the wedding of the sister of a Cambodian friend. For that event I went out and bought traditional Khmer clothes and later had my hair and makeup done together with a friend. Everything was really Khmer Style and it was a lot of fun.
Together with Leon I still attend Khmer classes every day. By now I have started to learn how to write and read Khmer. I’m definitely not as good as I wish I would be, but I know all vowels and consonants now and am able to read and write first, really simple sentences. Learning Khmer writing has also helped me a lot to improve my pronunciation and other than that it is quite fun, since the writing is really beautiful. I do have to start to focus a bit more on vocabulary again, since I’d really like to be able to have deeper conversations that go past “How long do you live here?” and “Where do you work?”.

For the next few months I have a lot to do. In addition to my daily tasks, I need to finish my pieces for the annual report of S.C.A.O. and I also want to film a fundraising video to promote the 3rd school of S.C.A.O.

Regarding my personal life I want to move to Phnom Penh and travel through Vietnam in April, when we have Khmer New Year Holidays.


Daily life at SCAO

Since two months now I live and work at the Save poor Children in Asia Organization, afterwards referred to as SCAO.

SCAO has two schools and is planning on building a third one. One (SCAO School II) is located in the village of Som Roung, around 15 kilometers north of Phnom Penh. The other one (SCAO school I) is in Boeng Chuck, a village close to Phnom Penh, and besides the school there; this is also where the center is located and where I live.

“The center” is the home of Mr. Sameth, founder of SCAO, his wife and 18 children, and since September my home in Cambodia.

My tasks at the center include many different things. Together with Leon I’m responsible for paperwork, the volunteer planning and for the smooth running of the school.

In the mornings I usually get up at around 7.30 and have breakfast together with the other volunteers before the first classes start at 9. Right now my first class starts at 1, so I have the mornings off to answering emails and doing paperwork for SCAO, planning my classes or doing my laundry (by hand).

From 11 till 1 we have lunch break and there are no classes at the school. Usually most of the volunteers go to have iced coffee at a small little shop down the street and after that we all have lunch together.

We have 4 different classes at SCAO; ABC class, which is the lowest level, beginner, elementary and pre-intermediate, which is the highest level.  I teach two beginner classes (from 1-2 and from 3-4) and one pre-intermediate class in the late afternoon from 5.30 to 6.30. After 6.30 I assist Lion, who also lives and teaches at the center, in another class.

When classes are finished all the volunteers have dinner together and the day is nearly over. Most of the time you stay up a bit longer, playing with the kids, reading books or watching a movie.

I hope this gives a short insight into my life and work here in Cambodia. If you have any other questions or comments just let me know.

All the best from Boeng Chuck,