I have been told more than once during my initial days in Cambodia that no plans or schedules within this country are ever certain or confirmed. That things can change from one hour to the next and that you just have to go with it. Our day at the PACDOC Orphanage seemed destined to embody this particular brand of happily contained chaos, and we were not disappointed. But what I have come to realize is that what seems like organized chaos to an outsider like myself; used to compulsory schooling where students in neat uniforms would rather play than learn is actually boundless enthusiasm, a real thirst for knowledge and a contagious energy that is impossible not to be swept up by.
Even after all the stories we had heard about the Cambodian children it was still a surprise to be embraced so readily and so warmly. Little girls and boys hug you for no reason other than that you are there and will hug them back.
After teaching a class we were able to help a group of other volunteers to build a playground at PACDOC. I loved hearing an American teenager say he and his family were helping to build this playground as they have things that these Cambodian children do not and therefore the Cambodian children “deserve it”.
That really got me thinking about the level of awareness and perspective within first world countries and I thought how great it would be if every teenager could have the opportunity to come to a place that really needed their help and be able to contribute through their own talents something to better the lives of others. I have discovered that hearing about something and then actually seeing it, affects you and leaves you feeling vastly different things to what you would have expected of yourself.