Restoring one village at a time

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kampong Thom Province - Painting

At the beginning of April we headed out of Phnom Penh and into the rural province Kampong Thom, recently Restore One has built a school at a village there and our job this visit was to give it a nice coat of paint. The main goal was to have the railings painted before we left, with a side goal of completely painting the two classrooms as well. It was an experience to say the least, we braved it out and slept on mats on the (hard) wooden classroom floor, eating different variations of rice, noodles and vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner, three days straight. We bathed like the locals, well at least the guys did, for a girl it proves to be quite difficult, I am extremely impressed that the local women do it everyday. It was hard and hot at times, I definitely had more than a few sore joints, but seeing those kids faces, even when all we were giving them was a milk lollipop was all that was needed. The happiness they constantly emit is astounding, it is one of main reasons I chose to come to Cambodia and work with Restore One for my gap year. We finished the railings and painted about a half of one classroom, which I was quite stoked with, I am excited to head back there and finish the rest of the rooms when we return. - Emily Wolfe

So yeah we headed off for the village, for me it was my second visit, but I was super keen to get stuck in and get some work done for the school and see how it was all looking, considering last time I was up there only one wall was up. On the way, we stopped at some friends of ours and they showed us their farm, while I had a go at gathering some fruit via a Pawpaw tree (or papaya). Back on the road, we stopped off at Spider City where a few of us tried some tasty deep-fried tarantula, which wasn't as bad as I expected, surprisingly! Got to the village and got stuck into some painting over the next couple of days, while having a bit of down time hanging with the kids and drinking some coke to fend off the bugs so we didn't get sick.
The people here live in such a simple way but they are so happy. All day while painting I see people come back and forth from the well, children scrubbing their clothes out in the sun to wash them, others running around with sticks and playing on the swings that have actually been used so much that the links in the solid chain  ( where they have worn through ) have been replaced on several occasions. I had an epic time here though, it was really good to see the elders come over and say hello, and let us know that they were happy with the place. Saying a few words like "sa' art" (beautiful) and "laor na" (very good), which was really cool. Living simply was awesome, having a defined purpose for being there and giving back is something truly satisfying. - Jerad Kew

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