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My Visit to a Cambodian Orphanage

By Lana K.

This year, during my trip to Thailand and Cambodia, I visited an orphanage near Siem Reap, which is a city near the famous and fascinating Angor region. The Angor region is well known for its Hindu, and subsequently Buddhist, temple complex called Angor Wat, which is the largest religious monument in the world. The temple was build in the 12th century, and has become the symbol of Cambodia; it is the country's prime attraction for visitors.  

Me in front of Angor Wat
My friends and I took quads and went a little bit outside the city to visit a children's shelter. During our ride, we stopped in little market to buy them some food and toys. The salesman told us to buy them rice so we bougt a big box with a lots of packages of rice. We continued our ride, and after 15 minutes came to the orphanage. It consists of a pair of small houses whose construction was funded by a few families, whom are mainly from Europe. There are three houses where the children sleep. For the most part, two or three children share one bed. The nicest room is the girls' room; and these girls are a little bit older. They have tables, where the girls can read and complete their school assignments.  

Me with children in  the orphanage
Also, they have two classrooms. The teachers are volunteers from Europe and America. They learn three foreign languages: English, German and French.  Our guide through the shelter was one boy who is about 14 years old, and he spoke English very well. 

It was nice to see that the children were not hungry and have appropriate clothing and footwear, which means that the conditions of life are not as terrible as I had imagined. Also, they go to school five times a week. After we had a complete tour and met all of the children, we went back on quads to our hotel. The experience was humbling after seeing the very basic conditions in which the children were being raised; nonetheless, their smiles did not escape me. When in Cambodia, do your best to visit an orphanage and bring a couple of goodies for the children; the experience will be gratifying for both you and the orphans. 

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