The day started with a sumptuous buffet breakfast at the hotel before we went to the orphanage and started the massive job of cleaning up the girls’ dormitory. Our main enemy: mouldy junk, pungent mould, mice, rats, cockroaches, lizards, rubbish, dust, leftover food in the room. Our greatest enemy: ourselves and our mentalities.
Throughout this trip, many of us have already gradually stepped out of our comfort zones. The very fact that we have stepped onto this soil and into this orphanage was already a step of faith. Everything else is just a great bonus. Whether it was fear of cockroaches, lizards, filth, strangers, language barriers, awkwardness, all of us in some ways have stepped out in courage to conquer our fears. Little by little, day by day, decision by decision.
The orphans have taught us that in life, we cannot always choose our situation but we can choose the way we face up to it. Whether it was mopping, scrubbing floors, wiping dusty windows, painting, working with tools and nails, many of us have stepped up bravely to do things that textbooks and classroom education have not taught us. Yet we have tried our best to break out of our comfort zone and give our best to these kids, who deserve a much better shot at life. Parents, if you are reading this, ask your child when he/she returns home about the housework they have done. Most of them would testify that they did more housework here than they ever did in their lives. I urge you to continue the learning journey with them.
Besides cleaning the girls’ dormitory, we also started some preparation work on erecting a donated basketball post. You will see the digging in preparation for cement work tomorrow, where we hope to hold up the heavy post in loose sandy soil with cement. This is gonna be a grand and ambitious project.
Finally, we also cleaned the exterior of the boys’ dormitory and started painting the windows and doors. We hope to eventually finish painting the entire exterior by this thursday, to give it a livelier facade.
We ended off the day with a break from local cuisine and tried cambodian fast food in the form of Lucky Burger. We had a good dinner and hillarious team sharing afterwards.
The team is now much more bonded and it once again testifies to the reflection from last trip that pre-trip preparation can only go so far in preparing the team theoretically. It is really the experience here that changes and bonds the team, encouraging them to be more serious about the work we are doing for the orphans. More orphans have also started to help us today. We hope to continue to engage their help so that they take greater ownership of the project!
More photos here.