When Wat OPot kids finish high school, the logical next step is to go to the ‘big city’ of Phnom Penh. In the rural area, there is no educational or job opportunities (besides the new shoe factory a couple of kilometres from our gate). As the big kids take that step into their new future, the little kids are in awe. WOW, you go Phnom Penh.
In order to quell those thoughts and have them realize Phnom Penh is really just another village (only much much bigger and full of foreigners) and not run by princesses and knights in shining armor, they now get to visit the city while they are in primary school. By the time it’s time to move out of Wat Opot, they will be that much more acclimated and not be overwhelmed (or disappointed).
This time our year-long volunteer, Lenny, and I took the upcoming 6th graders in. Our first stop was at IBC (International Book Center) so each could pick out a book to keep. Then as always lunch at Pesei’s restaurant and for most, the ability to eat hamburgers for the first time! Srey Lak was able to fit in a quick “Hi” in her busy daily schedule as well. The ‘big’ kids are usually as excited to see their younger siblings as the little ones are to see them.
After eating a very fulfilling lunch, we then headed to Orussey Market to pick up material to make curtains for the boys dorm. I took a couple of the soon to be 7th graders in and blogged about their experience in Orussey. It’s not a place for the weak of heart!
I was constantly counting 2, 4, 6, 8 like a mother hen, as I tried to keep everyone accounted for. You DO NOT want to lose a cell-phone-less kid in Orussey Market. Well we made it in and out dripping with sweat but material in hand. When the kids complain of the heat, you know it’s hot!
The next stop was at Restore One Café to get some ice cream.
It was good to see the kids so tired. They got a hands-on idea of what happens when Wayne or I go to Phnom Penh. They can now hopefully understand that Phnom Penh is indeed not Disneyland, it’s a cool place, but it’s also a lot of work to keep the supply room at Wat Opot stocked. They also missed out on their afternoon siesta, but some made up for it after cooling down with ice cream.
We were also able to check out our jewelry and pick up a very welcome $250 dollars from sales there!
…and a nice photo with the jewelry. One of the staff at the restaurant was wearing a WO necklace. She opened up her purse and brought out the name tag (which she had kept) from the necklace, and was very happy to meet, Nak, the creator.
After Restore one, it was on to our last stop, Lucky’s supermarket to pick up food supplies which cannot be bought at the local village market. Of course as always, the main attraction was the escalator and then the small amusement area on the 4th floor.
After shopping it was too late for them to eat dinner at Opot. This confirmation was met by cheers of joy! They could eat Phnom Penh food again, but since I wanted to be back before meditation, we took our food to go.
With bellies full and the sun going down, a quiet calm overcame the van.
All in all, it was a very successful, albeit long, day!