We made it back to Little Po for our last day at New Futures. I think both Andrew and I were a little more prepared for our heartstrings to be pulled, and we were prepared with a lesson plan of our own (we taught about different types of jobs), but we weren’t exactly prepared for the sad goodbyes, the hugs followed by “Teacher, Can I kiss you?” or the letters that were stuffed into our hands before we climbed into the tuk-tuk to head back to the volunteer center.
During our coffee break time, I gave the friendly coffee lady a picture that I took of her at her coffee stand. She looked at it at first like I was giving her a random picture, then she realized it was her and her face broke into this huge smile, and then she realized I was giving it to her and it really made her day. She was ecstatic. It was amazing. On our way out, she motioned to her grandchild for me to take a picture of her before we left. I had our students explain it was our last day, but I would send the picture to her in a few days. She smiled and said many kind words to us in Khmer and broken English. It was touching.
We went back to the class, and listened to some more songs, and more thank you’s from the students, and said our goodbyes. Team, the teacher is a complete doll. He thanked us profusely for visiting, and teaching, and said that we were so generous (we were there for four hours) for visiting. It was really a lovely experience to feel so appreciated by not only the students, but also the teacher as well. I had Team write down his address for us, so I’m hoping if I send post-cards to him for his class of 190 students, they can follow along just like Johnson Elementary is following along. They don’t have a computer out at Little Po, but Jake said he might be able to set Team up with an email address soon if he starts going to the volunteer center before or after his English class in the center of Takeo.
“This is REAL Cambodia” Jake hollered over the motorbike engine. And yes, he’s right. It’s dirty. There are cows, pigs, sometimes trees growing in the middle of the dirt road. Tiny stores hold bananas, plastic flip-flops, and bags of chips all tied up in plastic bags hanging from the wooden rafters of the wooden hut. Men and women swing from hammocks in the shade during the hottest hours of the day, while naked children run out to wave and scream “hello.” It’s dirty and it’s beautiful, and I had to remind myself I had a year of beautiful (and probably dirty) experiences to go when I felt a wave of sadness that I was leaving this one experience behind.
Where we slept:
What I spent: