After quite a long time, I decided to write my unforgetable memories. I want my past to be my encouragement and do not want it to haunt me once again. That is why I need to make every moment of my life best in my thought and conscience. Now let’s start from today. My teacher, Sambou Mannara, my Cambodian history teacher and wonderful teacher had an idea of community events. He wanted all of the students in the DMC class, his students at PUC and UC to voluntarily go to communities like Ang Metrey and Baray.
I am a DMC student and this was important for me to go and learn from the experiences of being there. We set up plans of where to meet and when to set off for the dotted places. The difficult thing is some students live very far away from the university and some do not really. So we had two different waiting places. The first group told each other to arrive at RUPP before 5 o’clock. The second one was told to meet at CALTEX opposite Rock Entertainment. Everything was ready until 6 o’clock only then did we left. It took us about 2 hours to arrive at Ang Metrey Primary School. All of the students in the car, which I remember were about 25 people, did have a good time during the trip. They were singing, joking and having fun in the car. There were mixes of first, second and third-year students of Department of Media and Communication. We were like very good friends.
At about 7:30am, we stepped our feet out of the cars and looked at all small students who were queuing waiting for us and others to come. That was Ang Metrey Primary School. Some of them, as I could remember, wore tattered clothes. They were curious about us. I could see through their eyes. They longed for the car we were on. They yearned for the clothes we wore. They very much wanted to have faces like us. Can you imagine how I felt? This is called an unfulfilled desire. However, it was better for them to see a new world that they can dream to have. I was in that thought when a lot younger. Then we made up our mind to approach those students and teachers of Ang Metrey. A few of my friends were very very good at asking the teachers about their lives working in that school. A few others were having a friendly conversation with the small children divided into two groups. One group lined on the right, and the other on the left. There were about 500 little students. Most of them looked very happy to see us and tried to keep their eyes on our activities. After 20 minutes, my teacher and his students from PUC as well as UC arrived at the scene. We, DMC students, were ready for the start. There was a great honour from Mr. Kol Pheng and his development partner from the USA (as I remember). They were chairmen in the event and some other men from his side joined it too. The situation took place under the sunlight but fortunately there were big trees shadowing the students. They were standing and sitting. It was a little boring to wait for the speeches from the chairmen, the director and the teachers. Even, the adults also felt the same. But the speech delivery went off smoothly. After that, my teacher shared enough students for each of us. We ordered us to teach them something new. We took them to cool places under the trees in the school. We taught them a lot of things about savior fair, civilization and hygiene [Note: basic lessons that many students in primary school around Cambodia take]. They were very smart and understood every word we said. Moreover, they tried to pay much attention to what we were saying as our lessons apparently interested them. But I dare say, most of our teaching was found fascinating by them. After our teaching, we gathered together and listened to a little speech. There was an Question & Answer short period. Only then did we start to share with them small gifts which consisted of two books, two pencil sharpeners, two rubbers, two pens, two pencils and one ruler. They looked greatly delighted to get one each. We, givers, had our spirit lifted, too. At the end, we had to say such a hard word “Goodbye” to them. We took photographs of them and waved bye bye to them for the last time.
Our mission had not been fulfilled yet. We had another job in the nearby school, I remember. The school was called “Baray School”. We needed to rest after the first school. Of course, we found a place called “Baray” in Takeo province. I was very happy there because I could go for a walk in a different place and everybody could relax after a hectic morning. Our mission then went on. We went to Baray School and did the same great mission there. We taught about the same thing to ten students each group and they were as good and curious as the students at Ang Metrey School.
We did right the same things and received a satisfactory result from our trial. We said goodbye to them, posed with them for the last time and left for home at last. Again, most of us sang and joked a good deal on the car on our way back home. Everybody was silent for awhile as they were in dire need for a short rest after a very busy day like this. I said goodbye to them first. It was hard for me to do that. Everything ended with happiness, determination and unwillingness to leave each other to where we were.
What had we done a lot of things there for? A good question from my friend, Sarath. We had gone there to provide as much help as we could as well as for understanding of other people living in other difficult and quiet parts. We wanted to teach those children in the two schools and make them hopeful for the brighter future if they do their utmost. More important, we wished to voice our clear conscience to them that WE CARE.
I say, this community event is the best thing for the situation in Cambodia. It is only the way to help make city people understood by countryside people and vice-versa. It bridges a smaller gap between us people. With the help of that, it improves each of our lives and unprivileged people begin to have light in their lives. We adult students also come to realize what is going around us. It makes all of us aware of what we must do to contribute to the development of our communities and country.