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Arriving on the island

Starting with our classic 7.30am balcony meeting, we had our Khmer language lesson, roles and plan for the day. After eating a “western style” breakfast at the guest house, we climbed aboard our bus. The one hour bus ride was beautiful since we were in the countryside. We looked out of the window and observed local fruit stands, houses and people. After, we took a one-hour boat ride on a skinny wooden boat. From the boat we looked at local fishermen and water buffalo drinking. Once docked, we carried our packs to the community centre for lunch. Made by a local lady, we had rice, fish soup, cooked mushrooms and chicken glass noodle salad. After lunch, the chief of the village introduced himself and the village, Koh Pdao, as well as our host families. The families, eagerly waiting, took our suitcases on their motorbikes, and we cycled on our bikes with our daypacks. We had two hours to settle in and get to know the families, using all the Khmer words we know. After that we all met at house 8, to walk as a group into the forest for the spirits to accept our stay on the island. We held incense sticks and repeated the blessings in Khmer. After we biked to visit the old Appleby projects of 2016 and 2017. Then we had dinner, along with many bugs. When we finished we discussed articles about deforestation and dolphins in Cambodia. Then we walked down to the beach, being surprised by candles placed in a circle. We did an activity with some rocks we had collected at the Killing Fields. Then we dispersed on our bikes back to our host families for the night. Overall, we had an eventful  introduction day to Koh Pdao and rural living in Cambodia.