ACTS – A Call to Serve

From December 10th-15th, a volunteer group from Singapore called the “ACTS group” came to our schools. The annual ACTS service trip was started eleven years ago by two Catholic doctors, Dr. John Lee and Dr. Pricilla Lee, from Singapore. For the past eleven years, Dr. John and Dr. Pricilla have led anywhere from 300 to 500 volunteers to serve in the different Salesian schools in Cambodia. Some of the volunteers are doctors and dentists who provide free medical check-ups and dental cleanings for the children, teachers, staff, and Sisters. The rest of the volunteers run different activities and lessons for our students. I spent the week with my students and a group of twelve of the ACTS volunteers. The ACTS volunteers taught my students how to cook different Singaporean dishes. They also ran a three-day practical training workshop on resume writing, interviewing, budging money, and planning events. On the last day of the week, the ACTS group organized a big sports day for the kindergarten, elementary, and high school students. The students participated in volleyball games, soccer games, and relay races. The FTHS girls (my students) sold popcorn, beef ball sticks, chicken wings, noodles, green tea, and mixed sour fruit at a food stand. I helped make the popcorn because I did not trust myself to make the other food well.

During this week, I also trained four of my second-year students to be English MCs for two different programs to thank the ACTS group. I am so proud of how hard my students worked to perfect their pronunciation of the words, to speak clearly, and to look up from the paper from time to time. Congratulations to SreyPich, Laihorn, SreyNich, and Vanna on their excellent English MC performances!


Christmas Bazaar at Toul Kork


Fun with Sisters, Students, and Food

Here are some miscellaneous photos from November and December. Featured in the photos are the Sisters, my students, and delicious food made by my students!

Exploring Markets on Saturdays

Saturday is the one day the other volunteers and I have free to explore Phnom Penh! We have spent a couple of Saturdays looking around different markets in Phnom Penh. We have seen everything in these markets – fresh fish, lace fabrics, hair salons, wedding invitations, wash buckets, and floppy hats! I enjoyed Boeung Keng Kong Market a lot because there are almost no tourists there. We were able to wander through the market and see the Khmer people doing their weekend shopping. The Olympic Market was also fun to see because many beautiful types of fabrics and colorful clothes are sold there.

Thanksgiving in Cambodia

Thanksgiving was different for me this year in Cambodia! The community did not celebrate Thanksgiving, as I am the only person from the United States in the community. However, all of the Sisters wished me a “Happy Thanksgiving!” and Sr. Ched, the superior, sent me a fun Thanksgiving e-card. On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Sophia, Lena, and I attempted to bake two apple pies using my mom’s recipe. We think our attempt was quite successful, regardless of the little-too-salty crust and our failed efforts with the top crusts. The apples in the pie tasted good, though, and the Sisters said that if you mixed the apples with the crust, you could not taste the salt! Perhaps we will have better luck next time we try to bake. Overall, the entire experience generated a lot of laughs and good memories for my Thanksgiving 2017.

Homevisits in Kandal and Prey Veng Provinces

One special part of the FTHS program is a home visit. Every school year, the FTHS Sisters and teachers try to visit the homes of each of the students in the program. Most students are from the provinces, so the Sisters and teachers need to travel quite far to get to the students’ homes. The weekend of November 24th-26th, Sr. Dory, Sr. Blanchi, Tr. Lyda, Tr. Theary, and I traveled to Kandal Province and Prey Veng Province to visit the homes of five students. We were welcomed graciously into the homes of the students and given lots of fruit to eat! My students were very happy to visit home and to show me where they live.

Analese Leaves 🙁

Unfortunately, the time came quickly for Analese to finish her year of mission and to go back to the United States. I am very thankful that I had her here with me during my first two months of mission. She gave me so much support and advice. Please keep her in your prayers as she applies to different programs for next year.