It has been a while since I last wrote, these past months have really been busy. So before I forget the memories we have had in Siem Reap, Cambodia, I’ll try to recall and keep them here.
Upon arriving to Siem Reap, we were welcomed to the humble home of fellow JWs. We had an instant Mom and Dad and they were generous enough to let us stay for a few days before we can transfer to another accommodation.
The morning after, we were excited to attend the KH meeting and see fellow volunteers and of course, the local Khmer brothers and sisters.
Their Kingdom hall is a few meters away from our accommodation, upon entering, we were surprised to see a lot of brothers and sisters from different nationalities. It’s like attending an international convention. We were greeted by the local Khmer brothers and sisters as well as Canadian, American, Japanese, Korean, and Australian volunteers. We did not understand the Khmer weekend meeting but we enjoyed the association. So we stayed for the Khmer Sign Language meeting and at last, we were able to understand the public talk because of the pictures used and the natural way of signing. Sign language really traverses borders and spoken languages.
After the sign meeting, we had the opportunity to associate with the volunteers in the sign language group and some of the deaf mutes since our adopted parents invited them so we can have lunch together.
The topics during the association are spiritually upbuilding and encouraging. I was really touched with one of the most cherished wishes of one volunteer. She dreams of a world without borders, ports and passports – so the deaf and mute bible students and publishers of the Khmer sign language group can have the opportunity to see the Northern Lights in Canada 🙂
We also had fun talking to Imy and washing the dishes with her. She’s currently visiting different countries to see where she can volunteer as a need greater. It’s sad that she and her brother will be leaving the next day to join their father in Vietnam before they return home to Australia. But it was nice to note that we had the opportunity to meet her and her brother while we were also volunteering in Siem Reap.
We also had the opportunity to taste and eat the Khmer version of a vegetarian pizza and it was delicious :). You had to buy 8 boxes and get 1 box – free 🙂 The foreign volunteers in the sign language group and their publishers as well as bible students contributed, so everybody can enjoy this local food.
Half of the third day was allotted for our Angkor Wat tour, you can read the details on this link: https://simpleblogdiaries.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/angkor-wat-angkor-thom-and-ta-prohm-ruins-3-major-attractions-in-siem-reap-cambodia/
In the afternoon, our group was invited to see the transformation of 69 Road to a picnic ground where groups of families and friends enjoy the local food and local attractions in the vicinity.
Then we had a picnic for dinner.
After dinner, most of the friends decided to try and taste the local choco-banana crepe and they really enjoyed this local dessert.
Before heading back to our accommodation, Tita Sita invited us to see the night market at Krong, Siem Reap.
Although somewhat tired because of the activities the previous day, we still got up early to prepare and get our things ready, since it will be our first day to join the Khmer Sign Language group ministry.
Each of us were given partners and territories to go to. And to our surprise, the only means of transportation we can use are the motos (motorbikes) of our partners in the ministry.
I was really nervous. The fact that I’ll be riding a motorbike in an unknown place made my heart beat really fast. Good thing that I was partnered with a 19-yr old Khmer sister and she was able to calm my fears of riding in her motorbike, by sharing encouraging stories they have experienced in the local territory. After the ministry, we enjoyed coffee and tea and of course, encouraging stories and experiences.
In the afternoon, we bid our adopted parents goodbye for a while since it was now time to transfer to another accommodation in the city center, so we can also explore that part of Krong, Siem Reap.
We have booked a deluxe twin room at Day Star Hostel in Krong, Siem Reap near Pub Street, Night Market and the Park Hyatt Hotel. You can book your room using this link: http://day-star-hostel-kh.book.direct/en-us
It was also nice to have a place for ourselves since we really like chatting and laughing as we review the day’s events before sleeping.
For dinner, Tita Sita invited us to a full-course meal at the Park-Hyatt hotel and it was also a time to bid the other volunteers goodbye since they will be returning to their countries that night.
The next day, we again joined the sign language ministry.
Sonny was assigned to work with Lisa.
But this time, Cherry and I were assigned to join a car group. To reach the house of the last bible student for that morning, we had to travel for 45 minutes. But it was worth the long drive since the deaf bible student is really eager to learn about the bible. Her father, mother and nieces even joined us. We were really happy to have met all of them.
On our way back to the city center, our driver, a 60+ year old special pioneer Aussie sister, decided to show us one of her favorite spots in Siem Reap. And we’re really glad to be a part of their field service car group for the day.
We enjoyed the ministry and rested for a while in the afternoon. Then we met Tita Sita and strolled the alleys of Krong to enjoy 1 dollar meals and drinks at a local restaurant.
Afterwards, we strolled along King’s Road and had ice cream at Blue Pumpkin.
Since there is no service in the morning, we decided to rest in the hostel. We bought our meals at Noir, a nearby restaurant and enjoyed local food. They really have big servings much to our delight.
In the evening, we attended the midweek meeting and met Sarah and Abraham, friends of another volunteer named Ji-Hye from Korea. They’ll be staying in Cambodia for a month while volunteering in the sign language group. We were really touched and encouraged by their self-sacrificing spirit.
They also told us that they usually work for long hours everyday in Korea to save money and use their savings to be need greaters in far territories.
For example, Ji-Hye related that whenever she goes home to Korea, she works for 12-13 hours a day in 3 months, so she can earn and save money that she can use while volunteering in the Khmer language congregation in Siem Reap for 9 months. She’s a regular pioneer and a need greater 🙂
It was really nice talking to them and learning more about the Korean culture while enjoying dinner in a Korean restaurant.
It was raining hard that night so we had the opportunity to pass through this compound. And of course we took the opportunity to take a group photo with our Tita Sita 🙂
I had to stay in the hostel for this day because I was not feeling well. Maybe the heat and the continuous activities plus the fact that it was that time of the month for me took its toll. So while I rested, my 3 adings continued with the activity set for the day. We were invited to visit the silkworm farm.
According to them, they were amazed to see the step by step process on how silk is produced, harvested and then later on woven into different pieces of clothing, bags and accessories.
That night, we were invited to an Apsara show and dinner at the Tonle Mekong restaurant. I had to forego the invitation but my adings obliged. They enjoyed the local Apsara show filled with local music and dance showcasing the Khmer culture.
Again, I had to stay in the hostel and rest. My adings joined the sign ministry and rested in the afternoon. That night, we were invited by Tita Sita to have dinner with her friends. My adings obliged and afterwards they explored the night market where they bought $2 shirts. And they also gave in to their whim of trying the local beer.
After chatting about their experiences for the day, they slept soundly. 🙂
We woke up and prepared early so we can have our breakfast first before going to the kingdom hall. It was our last time to have our meals at Noir.
Afterwards, we attended the weekend meeting and bid the members of the Khmer sign language group goodbye, since we will be leaving the next morning.
It was also our last dinner for this tour with Tita Sita and her pinay friends.
Later, we strolled along Pub Street and enjoyed the sights at the night market before returning to our hostel.
Though we have watched videos and read reviews regarding the local custom of eating bugs or insects, still, we refrained from trying them – even if they are safe and palatable. 🙂
We had to wake up really early since it’s the day we depart for Bangkok, Thailand. It is also the last leg of our tour and you can read the details on this link: https://simpleblogdiaries.wordpress.com/2017/12/07/crossing-the-cambodian-border-to-bangkok-thailand/
We enjoyed every bit of our volunteering week in the Khmer sign language group in Siem Reap. We’re really blessed to have Tita Sita and her friends, since they welcomed us with open arms and adopted us warmly. They were really hospitable and accommodating. They made sure that we will enjoy our stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I hope that we’ll be able to visit them again in the coming years.
Our stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia also made us realize that wherever we go, we have a spiritual family. 🙂
Photos (c) are from the fb pages of the members of this tour.