The children were up and dressed by 5 o’clock…in anticipation of the buses arriving at 6:30. The little ones were trying to keep their new clothes clean while running up and down the long driveway looking for the bus. It was a chore to make sure every one of the kids had a set of new clothes to wear on this special day; but it was worth it seeing the Watopotians looking so sharp!
Finally the buses arrived bringing with it Andy and Hitomi Gray and their girls and the Wat Opot Youth in Transition boys from Phnom Penh. The day would not have been possible without the financial backing of the Gray family, and Caroline Broissand and her family! We decided to rent 2 buses this year to make the 3 hour ride a bit more comfortable, the small bus drove right up with the news that the larger bus was waiting at the road; hesitant to turn down the narrow road to our community. The small bus was loaded up with supplies, including a huge cooler of rice for our lunch and 250 pieces of fried chicken! Everyone walked to the big bus and took no time in settling in.
First on the agenda was to pick up our pre-ordered BREAKFAST down the road. About an hour into the ride, we stopped along the road and made ourselves comfortable. It was nice to see that our persistent ‘clean up your garbage’ mantra at Wat Opot worked outside of our safe confines as the kids cleaned up their mess as well as the trash left by others.
Then it was back on the bus non-stop to the city of Kep! Someone spotted a ‘mountain’ in the distance and proclaimed that we were almost there! Well, almost there…as we still had an hour to go.
We arrived at the port and while a good price to bring 100+ people to Rabbit Island was negotiated (the normal $5 a person just would not do), and by 10:00 everyone was loading onto 5 boats and headed out into the Gulf.
The 45-minute ride flew by as we ‘raced’ to see which boat would hit land first.
Rabbit Island is a secluded very small island with only a few bungalows to rent. Most people go there to get away and relax…so needless to say, the lazy tourists eyes widened when our boats pulled up and almost 100 children and adults poured onto the sane – and some quickly moved down the beach out of our way! The supplies were unloaded and a mad dash to see who could get undressed first and jump into the water in nothing but their ‘lee-o’. After swimming, making sand art, and hunting for shells…lunch was served!
In typical Khmer fashion next on the agenda was rest time…then back to the water with some of the staff joining in the fun. The youngest Watopotian, Rortana quickly fell in love with the water. There was plenty of photo opportunities for the teen facebook users!
Eventually the day came to an end and we took the journey back across the gulf mostly in silence. A quick stop at a market to buy snacks to hold everyone off until dinner at Wat Opot…
Then back on the bus for the final leg home. Sleep came easily for most
and the 2nd annual Wat Opot Kep trip came to a close with dreams of next year.