For this criteria, I will talk about my involvement with HOPE Cambodia and the trip.
The one week I was at Cambodia made me realize many things that would have taken me years to notice. It made me question my ethical and moral decisions of which mostly I understood in my brain, but didn’t know in my heart. Facing the situation of extreme poverty, which I have never encountered on a personal basis, it made me reflect on the situation in Japan and the fact that there are millions of families in such situations.
The trip was well-balanced for us to learn Cambodia’s history, the situation now, and its cultural significance. Starting with the killing field, we then camped at the village to work on schools and get to know kids and finished with learning about the glories of Angkor temples. The village was where I really had a change in my mind. Our main job at the village was to help the securement of the floors. First, we carried rocks in the rooms and repeated it for three rooms. It was physically challenging, under a scorching sun and many trips from the pile of rocks to the rooms, all of us encouraged each other and persevered. After carrying rocks, we had to carry buckets of sand to the room to fill the holes between the rocks. This was when we really worked together. All of us stood in line between the sand den and the rooms and handed the baskets to each other so all of us had only a few steps to walk. Eventually, the local kids joined in the line and we worked very efficiently and also had fun while at it too. The last job we did was flattening the rocks. Two people carried a tree stump with two branches on it and dropped it on the rocks to sink it in. This job was the most physically demanding because it was very heavy. However, I really enjoyed the process and felt sad to leave the village without finishing it.
I taught the students at a school for an English class and in order to do that, we planned the lesson. At the first school, we had less problem teaching as many of them understood some words. Originally, we had planned to teach the name of colors, and other simple words then later using them in games, such as Pictionary and Hangman.
Everyone was engaged in the class, and we helped each other out and sometimes playing it by ear for the best outcome. Individually, we struggled to communicate with the students, but by encompassing the communication skills of all of us, were successfully engaging.
The class was successful with a few moments of laughter and joy. However, the second school was more challenging to engage with the students as many of them didn’t seem to understand a word we were saying. After the first school, we assumed that students at the second school would understand a few words of what we are saying. Needless to say, things didn’t go as planned and ended up receiving a lot of help from the member of HOPE to translate English words into Khmer.
After the lesson at the second school, all of us went outside to play in the field. a group of people started to play soccer but with only one ball, many people were unable to participate in the game. I knew we had to do something for them so we led a group of people to play something else. It was difficult to come up with a game with an easy instruction. We tried tag but it was still hard to communicate the concept. After a few trials of different games, Mr. Pomeroy suggested that we play Duck Duck Goose. As the students didn’t understand English, it was hard to play the game at first and tell them the instructions. However, using gestures and demonstrations, we were finally able to play. In the end, there were three different circles playing Duck Duck Goose and we all had a great time.
Through the trip, I was able to become more aware of the situation of poverty and I became more invested in HOPE group afterward. I decided to investigate a topic related to Khmer Rouge or the Cambodian Communists for my History IA and I furthered my knowledge and understanding about Cambodia.