Today we met Jimmy & Marika early in the morning and started our journey out to Banteay Oumpel Village - the first village that will be offered free English classes when the mobile school is set up! On our way we stopped off at a local market to gather some food for the people of the village aswell as have a coffee. We sat in a roadside shack and shared a table with some incredibly lovely and mesmerising local men.
The gentleman in the left image above, is named Long doum. He is 83 years old, and to survive day-to-day, he collects plastic and aluminium off the streets and resells it to a recycling factory. The man on the right had an infectious laugh and a warm smile...and was wearing traditional khmer clothing - which looked super comfy and cool in the hot weather. These lovely locals let us join them for coffee and you could see they thrived off being able to tell us the stories of their past.
We then continued on to Banteay Oumpel Village. A good 2hr drive from Siem Reap on motorbike. We met a local man on the roadside who took us into the village by ..... to be honest I have no idea what it was called. A tiny tractor with a trailer??? Anyway, we were taken into the village, through flood waters on this trailer and were greeted by the village people.
A talented lady in the village made everyone a delicious lunch which we all shared together under a giant shady mango tree. The people of the village live off the rice that they harvest themselves....and you could taste how fresh it was! Absolutely amazing. These people cannot speak a word of English... yet we were all able to communicate through gestures and with Jimmy translating for us. In a photo above, you can see the elders of the village gathering together to discuss where the classes will be held in this village. Because of the poor state of the road leading into this village - the mobile school truck will not be able to make it all the way in. The older children will be able to walk or bicycle their way out to the main road where the local primary school is to join Jimmy's classes when they begin, yet we needed a solution so that Jimmy could reach the younger children in the village. Together with the village people, we made plans to build a small shack to act as a small lesson area within the village. The people of the village want to help build it, and we would fund the materials. We are looking at approx $300-400 USD to complete this. It wasn't part of the original plan but sometimes projects take a different route once started. We think this will be the way to go for this village, and will work well. The 3 local men in one of the above images had plenty of knowledge of local materials to use for building the shack aswell as prices. We also befriended the local pig who is super friendly! She loves Adrian and wags her little curly tail when he pats her. There was also some brand new baby puppies in the village which were incredibly cute, yet we stayed a fair distance as mum was very protective of them.
We plan to go ahead with the building of the village classroom once we have set up the mobile school - so likely towards the end of the month!!!
Stay tuned, the next blog post will be about the vehicle searching journey we have ahead.