Summer camp 2016: the scouts share their experience

On every summer holiday, some volunteers go to Cambodia and organize activities for the primary school students. In August 2016, we welcomed the Passy scouts, a group of seven young studets. Some of them wrote about these two weeks in our NGO.
Vitalie: « I found the children happy, vigorous and always very enthusiastic »
For two weeks, we have been in charge of grade 3 and then grade 4. Each class had its particularities but I remain with very good memories of all the children! Every day was organized the following way: a two hour lesson on the morning, on English vocabulary, mathematics, geography… Every morning, we would revise the previous days’ lessons and use the same format. The children were generally motivated. The best pupils would whisper the answers to the others and they would stuggle pronouncing the « sh » of « fish », but they were very motivated and showed willing. We would favor the use of paper and boost their writing by asking to spell words and write them on the board, which could take some time but I think they will still remember these lessons.
After a well-deserved break, during which the boys woul play football, we would organize sports activities for the second part of the morning: chicken-fox, beret and other scout games. We first failed in explaining the games, but then a khmer teacher joined to translate the explanations and make communication easier. After that, the games worked really well and they globally liked it, even asked for more! After a good lunch break, we would start the afternoon activities.
Those could vary: activities in the classroom about logics, labyrinths (they would solve them quicked than us), puzzles (we noticed a different logic) or arts activities: painting, clay on the ground, origami, wristbands making (with their own method)…
The day would generally end with football for the boys and games for the girls. On the last day, we organized Olympic activities and offered the grade 3 students to come back to the school for this special day. Some of them showed up, which made us very happy! They all made it a great day!
I thought the children happy, vigorous and always very enthusiastic when we suggested games, they were also motivated and resourceful, even though in a different logic. Even is communication wasn’t always easy, there was always someone to help out, but we would remain autonomous in organizing the activities. Some teachers like Mrs Pok took part of the activities! I keep great memories, this experience within Bayon School was very fulfilling and I would be delighted to go again.
Louis: « Upon contact with these children, we got very humble »
When we went to Bayon coffee shop for the first time, we were warmly welcmed by the staff of the NGO which kindly hosted us in the Pastry School. The relationships there were very friendly from the start. They made it easy for us so that we spend two beautiful weeks!
On the Monday morning, we headed towards Bayon primary school to meet the grade 3 children for the first time. Their shyness quickly disappeared in favor of enthusiasm for the activities we were offering. Communicating was a daily challenge which just strengthened the bonds between the Khmer children and our team. We learnt their names, the way we pronounce them were often followed by laughters. Upon contact with these children, we got very humble and I had two amazing weeks. To give my time to people in need is a pleasure and when these people give back to you, it is even more rewarding!
Let’s not forget the Bayon coffee shop, which would remind us of our country with their good French pastries!
Big thanks to all the members of Bayon School who made this trip an extraordinary experience which will remain to me a week of sharing and happiness!
Hugues: « Neither trip nor humanitarian activity had taught me so much before »
Neither trip nor humanitarian activity had taught me so much as this mission with Bayon school students, as culturally as on the human side. It was a pleasure to teach and play with children who were so involved in their work and their will to make progress. Besides, we had a good welcome from the staff members, who kindly hosted us and gave us some advice on the activities, while still letting us be independent and providing us with a part of the supply we needed.
If I had to live this experience again, I wouldn’t think twice before saying Yes!
Hilzonde: « I was with much emotion that we said goodbye on the last Friday »
After getting over the jetlag, I can now put words on my experience in Cambodia, for Bayon School. My six scout pals and I have given classes with the grades 3 and 4 students of the primary school on the morning and organized sports and arts activities on the afternoon.
For these two weeks, everything went fantastic and a few anecdotes remains in my mind. Indeed, almost 10 000 km away from home, differences are bound to happen. For instance, after teaching the children the family member vocabulary in English, we realized they were not familiar at all with family trees. Also, the geography exercises showed that they were unable to place Cambodia on a world map (now they now it, as well as France  ). Finally, one day we asked them to do a puzzle and it was their first time. The beginning was complicated.
After these 3 surprising things, we were marked by their joy and constant smile. The children were very proactive, especially in mathematics, and they were happy to go to school although it was holiday. Concerning the arts and sports activities, they proved to be better than us at making wristbands and the boys replayed the 2016 Euro in the pagoda.
Even if we didn’t speak the same language, we have created bonds very quicky. They were between 11 and 14 years old but looked younger and were very sweet. We were glad when some of them would join us on the way to school and would ride the final 10th kilometer with us.
It was with much emotion that we said goodbye on the last Friday, knowing that we would miss the Kids party on the Sunday because of our flight to Paris. I would have been blissful to stay for one more week!
I will miss the coffee shop and the local temperature!
Thank you Claire for welcoming us in the NGO and letting us achieve this project we cared about so much, thank you Julie and Chloé for making us feel comfortable and giving us your expats’ tips!
Bayon School thanks Adrien, Agathe, Alice, Hilzonde, Hugues, Louis and Vitalie!
View all the pictures on our Facebook page.

, 6 September 2016