Today was our last full day of both teaching and being in Pailin. Most of us started the day at 6:30 am, although many of us were woken early to the blaring sound of a Buddhist celebration happening nearby to the hotel. After breakfast we travelled to a village school in outer Pailin, which was very much different to the Marist school we have become used to. At break time, we were trying to tell the kids to come and play but they did not move until they were told in Khmer, which resulted in a stampede of children running towards us. Many of the children were playing soccer where I was the goalkeeper trying to defend the 30 balls coming towards me. It was a great experience as, although their English was limited, we were still able to develop relationships and communicate with each other through body and facial expression.
We then headed back for lunch to the Marist school, then taught our next class. Most of us boys had very limited energy before the class, although when teaching, talking and dancing with the children in class, the hype quickly returns.
At the end of the day we went out for dinner with the Brothers, Fr Carlos and the teachers to share a last meal together. We expressed our appreciation to them and acknowledged the part they have played in our development over the immersion.
This immersion has been such a great experience for me, as I have really felt I have developed personally. This being my first time overseas, it has been a really interesting and eye-opening encounter as I have never experienced anything like this before. The way the locals are so willing say ‘hello’ to you when walking in the street or when their face lights up when you say ‘hello’ is something which really stands out. Both I and many of the other boys have noticed the way I have ‘come out of my shell’ whilst being here and not afraid of expressing who I really am. Through this development I have built some very positive and deep relationships with some of the boys I would not usually have experienced. This newfound confidence is something a feel I can take back from this experience and use in my life.