Camping Out Phnom Penh Style

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#sol19- February 19, 2019

Friday was the long awaited day- the grade 2/3 sleepover at school. Kudos to Ben who took charge of most of the organizing of the event.

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In the end it was about 70 students, 8 of us teachers sleeping over (with several others helping out until dusk). After putting up their own tents on the field (a first for many of them) and setting up their “room” there was a bit of free time before we headed to the pool. Just as the sun was starting to set the lifeguards reminded us that it would soon be dark. Back to the field we trooped and after a bit more play time the hungry masses were fed (everything tastes better grilled- the kids devoured the sausages in baguettes and watermelon). Some of these families will be in for a surprise and a high food bill once these kids hit their teen years!

52372907_1216602098493787_1596851914186686464_o.jpg52281303_1216598165160847_42942341450825728_o.jpgAfter dinner it was campfire time. Karyn led us in a few songs, but it turns out these kids did not know many that we knew and were not really interested in learning. Next was storytime, but Ben had arranged it treasure hunt style, so groups had clues to follow to get to their next story. I was “Near where the chickens hang out.” Next to the chicken coop are two bamboo platforms. I quickly realized the chickens do hang out there too as I sat on mounds of dried chicken poop, oops! I read Flashlight Night- perfect for an outdoor adventure. One of the stops on the treasure hunt was for roasting marshmallows.

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52595700_1216603628493634_2007772240216588288_o.jpg52123665_1216603038493693_4961197511944437760_o.jpgThen…bedtime. Of course, that did not go smoothly. One child went home even before the others went to bed- ah well. Some settled quickly but after many trips to the toilet, there were still many wide awake tents. One by one other teachers headed off to bed, while Courtney and I wandered around “shushing” and assuring students that they would eventually fall asleep. It was hot inside the tents and they were all sure that they had 101 mosquitos in their tents (and looking at some of the arms and legs they may have been right).

Some time before 1 Courtney and I went to bed, but neither of us got much sleep. I was up more than a handful of times and had kids visiting my tent to ask for the time (“2:30, Yuki.”).

Everyone made it through the night, but morning came much too quickly. After breakfast we had to take down the tents and fold them so that they would fit back in their bags- happily not too hard of a task, as we were all tired. 8:30 pickup time went off pretty quickly and then we all headed home. 4 hours off before returning to help out at the musical practice.

After my long awaited shower in the time off in between, I noticed my legs- covered in ant bites. I had noticed the stinging while I stood on the sandy area, but what a shock to see the spotted results- stinging turned to itchy and on Tuesday, as I write, the itch continues. I am wondering what I will get over sooner- the bags under my eyes from the missed sleep or the bites. Not the souvenirs I expected.

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The things we teachers do!

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