Today was our second day of working on the school with the village chief and the all of the students in our homestays and village. We were feeling pretty sore from carrying buckets up the riverbank yesterday but we managed to load four “robo cows” full of dirt to make concrete.
Later in the day we interviewed the village chief and school principle, both of whom mentioned that climate change is affecting their daily lives on the island. The chief noted that the rainy season had changed and growing rice had become more and more difficult.
However the most interesting cultural realization I had today was in my homestay. All of the women and children were matching pajama sets all day because they are “comfortable and clean.” Also, when we pointed out the hole in the mosquito net our homestay dad took down the entire net down and put up in a new one in five minutes.
I thought the PJ’s were interesting because as a girl with readily available clothes I have the advantage of the comfort and cleanliness of the clothes in my own closet. It seemed strange to me that all of the women were just wearing PJs around, but that also made me wonder if they think we americans wear strange things that seem logical to us.
Lastly, Mr. Si’s (homestay dad) consideration was shown to Sarah, Alexa, and me because we came to the island knowing we would be welcomed but we did not expect to be treated like family. He constantly asks if we are happy and he said we was worried we are not comfortable in his home. This was so shocking to me because this family has gone the extra mile in every situation to make us feel at home, whether it is giving us fans when we sleep or helping us learn how to do our laundry like a local. I can’t wait for tomorrow because we will be talking with a survivor of the Khmer Rouge who lives on the island.
P.S. Hey mom, dad and Bell. I miss y’all!