Anjali Boys Visit Angkor Chum!
The boys at the Young Adult House have a lot of commitments. Between work, study and their chores, they aren’t left with much time to play football, visit their families and relax. Regardless, they jumped at the opportunity that was presented to them over the past two weekends to visit Angkor Chum and paint the maternity ward of the hospital.
Located 54km outside of Siem Reap, it was a two hour ride each way on the moto kongbi. The first weekend there were 11 people on the kongbi – the driver, four staff members, five young adult boys and one of the Anjali kids to keep the driver company on the long drive back. The boys entertained themselves by wolf whistling at any female the moto kongbi passed by, eating cicadas as a snack, and singing loudly to the music they had playing. Eventually, the excitement wore off as the darkness came, and with it, many many insects flying into their faces. The poor driver had to deal with so many bugs flying into his eyes he could have cooked up his own batch of bugs for dinner!
The staff and boys stayed at the home of a VSO volunteer who is a nursing advisor at the Angkor Chum Referral Hospital. Angkor Chum basically goes to sleep at 8pm, so the restaurants were all closed by the time they arrived. Two of the teachers cooked a very basic dinner of sausages and rice, and then everyone rigged up their mosquito nets and settled in for the evening.
The next day everyone was up by 5am, ready for the day! After everyone showered and found old clothes to wear, it was time for the local breakfast specialty of rice and pork. Then, the hard work at the hospital began! First, the paint had to be scraped off the wall until only the cement was left. This was when the Young Adult Boys really proved what hard workers they were – they made sure every last bit of paint was gone, and did it without complaining. Sandi even came up with a new tactic of holding the hose next to the big brush and using the running water whilst scrubbing for maximum effectiveness.
It was then time for lunch, and with money generously donated by donors, a big meal was had at a sit down restaurant.
After lunch, their got started on painting the first coat of the walls, as well as the window bars. Their energy levels were dropping, so they weren’t as productive as they had been in the morning, however a good effort was still put in. In true Khmer style, the day was finished off with a sunset game of football at the local High School, and then everyone walked home and crashed out pretty early from exhaustion.
The next day, the boys and staff members slept in until 6am, and took awhile to properly wake up. After breakfast it was time to continue painting the walls. First, a second coat of paint was put on, followed by the painting of the bottom half of the walls purple and blue. It was much more fun than the day before, and less energy had to be used, which was good. After lunch a second coat was put on, whilst Rith drew and painted a picture of a nature scene with one of the staff members on the wall of the Children’s Ward. After a LOT of cleaning, it was time for the journey home – which was an adventurous one due to the thunderstorm which was driven through. At one point the moto kongbi ran out of petrol, which meant Sandi had to walk in the rain for ten minutes to get petrol. About 20 minutes later, the kongbi again broke down. Luckily, one of the teachers used to fix motos, so he sucked the petrol out, and VOILA, we were working again!
All of the boys loved the first weekend in Angkor Chum, however Sopheak was very taken with the village. He wanted to raise money so every room could be painted at the hospital, and Pheaktra also wanted to fix the broken fans. The countdown was then on to the next weekend, when Ruon was also able to join us.
After another long journey out there, minus Pheaktra and Sandi who had work commitments, more hard work was put in to paint the second room. On the Saturday night a special birthday surprise was planned for the Head of the Young Adult Program, Kyle, complete with brownies and sparklers!
On the Sunday, Pheaktra and Sandi surprised the boys by travelling out to Angkor Chum once they had finished their work commitments – just as the second room had been finished! Everyone was happy nonetheless, as all the boys were together and able to view the results of two weekends of laborious work.
Louise, the VSO volunteer, summed up the commitment of the boys very well. “Thanks for all the hard work I still can not believe how hard those boys worked. They are the nicest boys so sweet and polite and not once did they say a negative word and worked as a team. They are a credit to Anjali and everyone working there”.
We have said it before, and we will say it again. We are very proud of our Young Adult Boys, the maturity they are displaying and the personal growth they are achieving!