We visited one of many schools we support and at break the children were choosing books to read to one another. Then there was a girl having her hair washed and another demonstrating hand-washing. This helps the children learn about hygiene. As many villages have little access to water, you can have your hair washed once a month at school!
Later we went to a kids' club. These are put on for children to get extra help with reading and writing but they also learn about their rights through songs, dance and crafts.
After lunch we visited a new pond which had been started in June with money raised from child sponsorship. Thanks to the monsoons it was already filling up nicely. The water is used for irrigating the rice fields. The idea was to help the villagers build a fence to keep wild animals and children out; some of us were better at this than others! Eventually the villagers will be able to get piped water from the pond to their villages.
Next day we met Yan, a very resourceful 14 year old. She was more or less in charge of a kid’s club and tries hard to get the local children to go to school. She wants to be a teacher and to pay for her studies she farms chickens, also provided by World Vision. I asked if they had foxes but in Cambodia its snakes that are the menace.
We were nervous and excited to meet our sponsored children. Meeting Lin was the highlight of the trip - I recognised her straight away and despite the language difficulties we did get to know each other. I gave her dad a solar torch and he said he would use it so the girls could read in the evening. I just hadn’t considered the problem of no electricity for children trying to study.
After sharing lunch and getting to know our sponsored children, the staff had set up some fun games for us to enjoy - including races to eat apples on strings. You can imagine the raucous laughter that erupted.
I loved stopping at the side of the road to look at the local bright and vibrant array of produce - huge juicy mangoes, dragon fruit and wonderful oranges.
We visited two other kids' clubs. In the first one the children demonstrated hand-washing and then were given a nutritious meal made of rice, beans and egg. I was so delighted to see how my monthly donations are used in such great ways. We sang action songs with them, like ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ and played ball games.
It was a fantastic day meeting our sponsored children and it was lovely to meet their families. This little one was only a month old and was intrigued by all the new visitors.
Our day with our sponsored children and their families was so special for everyone - a day I won't ever forget. World Vision has done a lot to help the people there and it was so humbling to meet some of them. If you do have the chance to visit the beautiful country of Cambodia, then do! Go and meet your sponsored child and discover the many ways your support goes beyond what you had expected.