June – August 2013 : Caroline and Audrey

From June 1st, until August 28th, 2013, Caroline and Audrey have done their internship, a part of the ‘Humacité’ mission of the Groupe Sup de Co La Rochelle. Caroline gave us her testimony of her experience at the centre of Takos.

  • Audrey, Caroline and the little ones
    Audrey, Caroline and little pupils

What pushed me to choose the association PONLEU KAMPUCHEA, is its small size. Indeed, I […] wanted to play an important role in the organization in order to be as active as possible, to be able to give my utmost to fully participate in the life of this Association and I knew […] that autonomy would be left to me.
My intention was really to base this mission on the exchange with others. I did’nt want just to provide knowledge but I was also expecting to learn something about my interlocutor.
In addition, I wanted to work with children.

Cambodia and France; what PONLEU KAMPUCHEA can bring to education
Cambodia and France have a shared history that explains the appeal of the French language in this country. It is currently experiencing a resurgence of interest among young people seeking to learn the french.
However, English language remains the indispensable international language to find a job, especially in a country where tourism is a priority and is a key growth factor.
Similarly, computer knowledge and practice are invaluable for young people who want to find a job.
The objective was to resume the knowledge already dealt with previous volunteers and  to ensure the sustainability of the Association between two periods.

Preparation of the mission
Before leaving for Cambodia […] with my classmate Audrey who was going to accompany me in this adventure, I met two members of the Association, Roselyne and Jean-Jacques, who had given french courses in February 2012 and February 2013 in Takos.
This meeting allowed me to learn a little more about Cambodia and Cambodians,  described as very hospitable and fond of laughing, as well as local life, such as eating habits or the climate.
They have also advised about the choice of clothing on the spot: wear rather long clothes that cover the body, to protect yourself from mosquitoes, and further to not get too hot.
[…] they gave us some indications on how to teach, and we learned a few words of Khmer: thanks, «orkun”, hello “soursdey”, etc…
Ten days before my departure, we met the same two volunteers, as well as two other members of PONLEU KAMPUCHEA, and Dr. TOCH, President of the Association. We saw with him important points such as housing and transportation. He also described to us what should be a typical day at the Association.
On the other hand, Pascal, a computer scientist and a member of the Association, gave each of us a computer, he showed us the operation, so that we could provide children with computer courses.
From my side, I was documented regularly before my departure, by personal readings or on internet sites, such as travel blogs, forums, testimonies of french expatriates in Cambodia…

The scenery arriving at Siem Reap
[…] when we were going to land, I could see rice fields and especially palmtrees out of sight, with only a few wooden cabins in the middle of all this vegetation…
[…] descending from the aircraft, at first the moist heat literally felt on my shoulders…
[…] There was red dust everywhere along the roads, there were almost no cars but dozens of tuk tuks, especially motorcycles and a few bikes…

[…] I had at my disposal a classroom in bamboo with a roof of dried banana leaves… When we went to the Association […], the class was cleaned, tables well arranged, and whiteboards hung on the wooden wall of the school. We went to look for writing material, as well as ten chairs which were at the guardian’s house. We were presented to the students, and asked them to do the same. Then they wrote their name on a paper, and we launched the course that we had prepared the day before.
The chemistry is well past immediately between students and us, we spent good moments together.
[…] I quickly realized that we had no need of a lot of material for teaching. The bulk was there and that was enough. We then had to use our own imagination to make the course interesting and attractive. To ensure that the latter were interactive we proposed games to the students such as ‘Jacques said’ that we adapted to their level of knowledge of the french or english vocabulary.
[…] We were also much to listen to them. When they wanted to sing, we tried to find a moment. When we saw them lozing concentration, we didn’t hesitate to make them laugh, to play with them.

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