Soksabay from Phnom Penh. I can’t believe December is ending soon! Where did the time go? Next month I leave beautiful Cambodia and it feels that there is still so much work to do here. I’m not sure why I am not inspired to write while living in Phnom Penh. So many experiences in such little time and I don’t want to forget about any of them yet I don’t feel the urgency to document them.

I still teach daily at the head office located in the heart of Phnom Penh. It’s the travel to the communities that I enjoy most. I’ve been teaching in two of the slum communities for CVCD twice a week. The two classes from 8:30-10:30 am go by quickly. I will travel with a staff member or teacher by moto to the classroom for about 30 minutes from the city. The kids look much younger than they really are because of malnutrition. The 14-year olds look like they are only eight. But they have the same laughter and enthusiasm as any child I know. Some kids will ask me to write down the word for them but I encourage them to watch me as I write the words on the white board. At the other end of that spectrum are some kids who refuse help. They really are independent and prefer to do the work on their own.

Yesterday, Mr. Pheak and I drove to a slum community by the railroad tracks near our head office, crossing the bridge on Russian Boulevard. The Khmer teacher who teaches there sat and became our student as we, Mr. Pheak and I, co-taught English for an hour. The classroom was not designed to fit the 30+ kids that attend. I watched as they brought in stools from their homes to sit in the back. Parents and young kids crowded each other in the doorway and window to watch. A man came in drunk and asked us for $2 but we asked him to leave and we locked the wooden door by lowering the tiny wooden latch. We asked some kids to come to the front of the classroom and they practiced simple conversation. How are you? What is your name? How old are you? For some kids this was a difficult exercise in pronunciation so it was good practice. As a game, I wrote the phrase on the board and called out words such as “name” and “what” to see who would be the first one to point the word out. Lots of volunteers for that exercise.

As we left the community, I saw a few of the same kids helping their parents selling used clothing or petrol in pepsi bottles on the side of the road.