The kids were off from school today so we basically just spent the whole day playing. In the morning, after shooting a few shots of the kids working in the garden, Ream took Courtney and I on a little walk around the village - past the local barber, the weird scarecrow and the dude on the motorcycle selling eggs - to meet a few people. She showed us the little pond where the villagers get their water from (see below) and also showed us where the sewage line is drained - basically directly into the pond, hence the muddy teal color it exhibits. During dry season, many villagers die from diphtheria from drinking the dirty water, but during the monsoon season it's not as bad because the water is slightly cleaner. Ream's dream is to get a water filtration system installed for the village, but this would cost a couple million dollars. She is very passionate about her village and about getting the people help. I wish I could do something to help too, it's a very sad situation, and what's even more disrupting is that most of the country has the same dilemma.
The orphanage is very lucky to have their own water treatment system, electric generator, internet satellite and other self-sufficiently run necessities - they are probably the only villagers who have this fortune. Kit spent $70K and built the entire house bottom up. It sleeps, nourishes and bathes 35 children. They rely on foreign sponsors to keep up the welfare of the orphanage and its kids (if you would like to donate or sponsor one of these adorable kids, visit http://www.agreaterhopeorphanage.org). These children mainly come from families who could not afford to keep them or from families who were sick, passed away or abused them. They are extremely lucky to have been sent to A Greater Hope where they now love their life and have a brighter future than most of the kids in the village.
We talked to a man who was making sugar out of palm tree. It tasted delicious! Apparently you can also make beer out of a palm tree... I suggested Courtney and I get wasted later, but it may not be such a good look. If you see the palm tree on the photo, there's a ladder going up - that's how they get the goods.
After we got home, we played in the garden, did some more headstands, played some more foot tag, handed out some more toys - the kids especially loved blowing those toxic bubble things you get in party favors when you're a kid. Then some of the kids put on a show - they got dressed up and did two traditional harvest dances and sang for Courtney and I, while Te-a, the musically gifted boy, played keyboard. It was SO sweet, we felt honored to be the special guests.
I finally finished my photo shoot project and the second part of it which was a lot of fun. I laid out about 20 different fabrics or so and each kid chose different ones for me to photograph their hands and feet on. One boy had pink nail polish on his toes, which made some of the girls chuckle.
It got so hot, so all the kids rushed upstairs to have a water balloon fiesta (as opposed to a fight, because they... don't really fight) and splashed water all over the floor and played slip and slide. They were having a BLAST, it was awesome.
Tomorrow we're heading to Siem Reap by bus, it should take 6 hours or so to get there. Sadly, I'll be saying goodbye to these amazing children who have taught me so much about appreciation, humility, love and kindness. And then, a new chapter shall begin...