Editor's note: Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy (NELA) students are now traveling in Cambodia, experiencing brand new adventures and a completely different cultural lifestyle. Follow along as they feed elephants, watch sunrises and taste new foods.
May 19, 2010 (from Feliz, a student):
Today, we worked with the orphans again, getting closer and closer to our goal of building a barn for their cows, and a shower room for the boys. Even though the temperatures outside (and inside) were close to the low 90’s, and the work was slightly easier then yesterday, but still physically tough, the day flew by. It surprised many that the orphans were willing to help, even though they weren’t asked to help, they seemed genuinely excited to be working alongside us, helping us improve their facilities. The kids also learned more English words, and worked on reading and pronunciation, and we helped the teacher improve her lessons by teaching her how to speak better. Everyone was so fun, and seemed content with their lives at the orphanage.
Today we also took a ride on one of the few remaining bamboo railroads. We literally built the bamboo platform that served as our “train”. It was one of the most unique pieces of machinery that I have seem, or ridden on. The machine seemed to be moving quite fast, even though in reality we were going about 5 mph. after riding for about 15 minutes we stopped and watched the sun set over the rice fields. It was such a fun and unique experience.
Today seemed to fly by and was really fun. It seems like every single day is so surprisingly different. Even though many here are feeling a little homesick, we all are enjoying the family-like bonds that we all have been building with the children at the orphanages.
May 18, 2010 (from Silver, a student):
Yesterday we arrived at the Battambang Orphanage Project. We spent the whole morning talking to the director of the orphanage and getting to know all the kids. After formulating our ideas on how to help the orphanage we all went outside and played soccer and volleyball. Once everyone was tired of playing we cooled down with some frosty ice cream. All of the kids at the orphanage are really sweet, happy, and fun to play with.
Today we arrived back at the orphanage early in the morning and split into our two groups. The first group spent the day teaching the children the English alphabet, how to read, and how to pronounce certain words. We actually learned that the children already know the English alphabet pretty well. So Lindsey, Katrina, Sarah, Brenna, Maya, Hannah, and Sylvia taught the children how to speak all those different and confusing pronunciations of English. All the kids were extremely willing and excited to learn English.
The second group (Andy, Jordan, Bryce, Silver, Feliz, Cody, Jake, and David) helped build a small barn for the cows and a bathhouse for the boys. All day it was really hot, but we still accomplished our goals for the day. We laid down the foundation and put up the support beams for the bathhouse; and we set up the support beams for the barn. Surprisingly the orphanage kids were all super helpful and willing to help us even without us asking. So far our experience with the orphans has been very nice and fun. We are all excited to spend the next three days with the orphans.
One week to go! We’ll see you soon!