Volunteer Diary – Matthias – Part 4

Boom… and now it’s already mid-August. It is always a positive sign, when time flies by although one would like it different. This is mainly because the last days and weeks were very eventful. That is why I’d like to give you a little overview so that you are up-to-date.

The regular lessons have become part of my daily routine for a while now. I especially enjoy the evening class with my five students. Not only that the size of the class gives me a lot of room to work with, but also that their level of English allows for deeper and interesting conversations. But we also laugh a lot. After my class has already finished the scholarship test that will be taken in consideration for the decision which of our prospective students will be supported by the organization, they also are now going to write their final exams in high-school. I am sure that all five of them (see class-photo, f.l.t.r.: Boutros, Chakriya, Rachana, Srey Sor & Srey Mom) will pass the exam successfully and I hope that they will be able to realize their dream of studying in Phnom Penh from this year onwards. It makes me really happy to have the chance to support them on this important path because I have already taken them into my heart.

Furthermore, my guitar class has been going on for a while now. Thanks to everyone finally having his or her own guitar to work with, progress can be observed regularly. That is why I’d like to again thank all the supporters of my fundraising campaign “Guitars for Cambodia”. I already had to split the class up because every week there is at least one new student that likes to start playing guitar. Now I teach the beginners for two days and the advanced group also for two days of the week. But in both classes fun is main part of the learning, so that we also laugh a lot besides a little bit of music theory and the rhythm- and chords-practice.

The only guitar-free day of the week is used to improve my Khmer speaking skills. I am very happy that a few students offered to help me. Now, on every Friday we change perspectives. While I enjoy sitting at the school desk, the students have a lot of fun extend my vocabulary or practice my pronunciation. I really appreciated their effort.

These newly gained language skills are then tested in the everyday life. But this is not always successful. For example, my first visit to a Cambodian barber shop: I thought I am linguistically well prepared but aside from “Please cut my hair.”, “short” and “good” the hair-dresser couldn’t follow my excursions into Khmer. Nevertheless, the result was alright. There was just one little thing that confused me for a few seconds. Suddenly the barber put a lamp on his forehead and like a spelunker he started exploring the depths of my ears. This extra service came unexpected but in the end I was happy about the complete package. And all of this for the cost of one single dollar. Not bad.

Another highlight of last week was my first Khmer birthday. Not only that my guitar class surprised me with lovely presents, but also my evening class organized a little party instead of teaching: I got sweet Khmer-cake, music, dance, a lot of sweat and a new outfit. I was over the moon!

As you can see, it’s not getting boring in Lor Et. Hopefully this won’t change in the next months. I keep you updated. Yours Matthias

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