Day 6 - Blessings from the Monk and Enthusiastic Children

Posted by: Cyndi Hansen on Monday, January 5, 2015 at 5:28:00 am
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Today, for our morning excursion, we cruised to the little village of  Wat Hanchey. Once we arrived, the ship crew tied us off to a tree, which totally cracks me up.  Just as a side note, the bigger ships cannot get to some of the places we are going, so there is a definite advantage of being on a smaller ship.   While here in Wat Hanchey, we visited the school for the local Monks.  We got to spend time with two of the monks and it was interesting to hear about their lifestyle.  They even performed one of their chants, which was hypnotic and melodic at the same.   After, for those who wanted, you could receive a water blessing from the monks as well.  Outside the temple, the local children greeted us and asked to hold our hands as we walked around the village.  Some spoke little English and one little girl much smaller than Nyah, age 14, hung with us most of the time.  She couldn’t believe Nyah was only 13 as she was so much smaller.  But what a doll she was and her smile was contagious.   

In the afternoon we cruised over to Angkor Ban and explored this rural village and visited traditional  Khmer Houses.  We also spent time talking with the oldest man in the village of 84 years old.  The average life expectancy is 65, so even our tour guide was fascinated by his longevity.  He shared with us some interesting facts about the village and his experience during the war.  Throughout the village, children were playing and waving at us giggling.  Some came around with their hand out, but we were asked not to “give” as this encourages begging with the other tourists.  All we could give was our smiles and our hands to hold.   For clients that may take this type of trip, I would encourage buying lollipops, candy or pens to hand out for the children as it didn’t sit right with me not to give anything.  

From there we went to a local school where they teach the kids English.  The English teacher seemed to be in his late 30s and a very pleasant gentle man.  I really enjoyed talking with him, and everyone loved interacting with the kids.  They were so excited to show off their English skills to all of us.   Everyone in our group sat at a different table so every child had a chance to spend time with us.  They asked our names, how many children we have, how many brothers and sisters we have, where we lived, etc., to show off their English speaking skills.   Nyah sat at a different table, and I was impressed at her ability to interact comfortably with them as well.  She was giggling and writing down things for the kids and I could hear her saying, “good job, very good”.   When we left, she said that was one of the favorite activities of the trip.

As we walked back to the ship, the children followed us back and waved a joyful goodbye when we left.   Back at the ship, we enjoyed our evening with a cocktail reception and dinner, followed by more socializing or taking in a movie.   Tomorrow another new day of adventure. 

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