It comes a bit late but here comes the Saturday anecdote of my last summer trip to South-Eastern Asia.
Time runs fast. We spent only a week in Lao. With some distance, I advise you to travel at least two weeks over there. There are so much to learn, so many people to meet and so many places to see that I almost got frustrated about going so soon to Cambodia. We were about to live the best part of our trip though. Indeed, our plan in Cambodia was to help an NGO during one month, as instructors for children. I hadn’t done that before and was quite nervous about it. The other girls felt the same way, even though some already had experience with kids, so I guess it was easier to handle.
We were on our way back to Vientiane, the capital of Lao, by a night bus. Such a trip ahahah! Just imagine that we were about to sleep in overlaid beds, on the upper ones. There wasn’t any barrier, in a way we could easily fall on the floor. At the beginning, with the friend who was by my side, Tiphaine, we were so scared that we just couldn’t stop shouting at every corner. At some point, we needed to rest, but the road was sinuous and I couldn’t get some sleep since I was on the side I could fall on the floor. And I couldn’t even close my eyes since I was too preoccupied about what was coming next. How is it going to be? What about people? We were going to work with young Khmers so, will we be able to understand each other? Will I be able to care about children I don’t know anything about? So many questions were gushing out on my mind. We got to the capital two hours late, went by tuk-tuk to the airport and flew.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Even before landing, I noticed that this town had nothing in common with Lao. It was swarming, like these cities that never sleep. The architecture was also really different. Cambodia lived a terrible genocide, and it wasn’t a long time ago. If you haven’t heard about it, I invite you to read some more. Because we also had our part of responsibility in this conflict, since we didn’t intervene. Anyway, the buildings are way higher than in Lao, the poverty at every corner, and streets full of trash. There’s no word to describe this chaos. Therefore, we directly went to the NGO centre, and we couldn’t see that much when landing. Everything went so fast. I’m here describing you my trip, trying to put some words in it and can remember almost every detail of this day. We got there, the centre was huge. Absolutely unexpected. We first left the material we brought for the children and then they showed us our rooms. We left our luggage and we were already gone to the first “paillote”, how they call it. The NGO is divided into various sites. Central camp is the biggest one. Then, there were about 15 camps more, spread over the city. Many children followed us on our way there and one literally fell asleep on my arms, till someone picked him up back home. We followed our walk around and got to the old dump. A kind of hell surrounded by trash of all sort. Clothes, bottles, needles and much more. And children everywhere, smiling at us, some shy, some trying to play with us. It was confusing, this feeling I had at such a moment. Terrifying but clarifying the reasons which made me go there. After, everything is sort of hazy.
XOXO, see you on Tuesday!