Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day to day life at Honour Village

All week long, I see so many things happening that I want to write about.  Hopefully they are also things that you, my readers, are interested in, but I'm never sure, because I rarely receive comments from anyone.  Honestly, I'd really appreciate if you'd leave comments here, or if you're too shy to do that, just email me.  I'd just like to know I'm not only writing this for myself.   

 I've tried to include a lot about the construction of Honour Village because a) I've promised them I would, and b) I think it might be great for everyone at home to see what wonderful things are happening there in such a short time.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Honour Village's history, it might help if you visit their website, but I bet any one of you would be amazed to learn that Honour Village was nothing but an empty rice field until this past May.  We've been working on building and finishing our house for more than 2 years now, so I can really appreciate all the effort and expense they've gone through in just 10 short months! 

When I also learned that the first of these 32 children only came to Honour Village in late November, it helped me to understand how fragile (and resiliant) these kids are, and (as I've recently written) the newest family of 4 arrived just a few weeks ago. 

Three brothers from the new family. 
They also have an older sister

Most of the time, they seem like one big happy family.  Occasionally there's a squabble, and some jealousy, and the odd temper tantrums from the youngest ones.  There's sniffles and coughs, and skinned knees, and plenty of toys to play with, which also means plenty of toys to put away. 

How many pieces of Lego is this?

All the children (except the two 3-year-olds) go to school 6 days a week, Monday to Saturday.  Classes are from 7 am to 11 am.  Some of them are up as early as 4 am, and have a hearty breakfast before going to school.  The school is 5 km away and the older kids bicycle, while 6 or 7 of the youngest ones get driven to school in a tuk-tuk. In the morning the two youngest ones play quite nicely together, but they do need their nap. 


The children are escorted to and from school.  Around 11:30 pm, it's a joy to see the big procession of kids on bikes just over the top of the wall as they arrive home after school. 

You can just barely make out
the procession of bicycles over the top of the wall

The children burst through the front gates

As they arrive, they all sompeah (bow with hands in a praying position) and greet each adult with 'Jeum reap suah".  It's quite touching to see this when there are several adults around (sometimes more than 8 or 10)...and 32 kids all jockeying for position....Of course, I'm trying to name each one individually as I greet them!  (Yes, I've finally learned all 32 names!  Whew!) 

As soon as they arrive home from school, they change out of their school uniforms into their play clothes, and come down for n'yum teuk (a drink of water).  Honour Village has put a system into place to ensure that each child is getting enough liquids daily (closely monitored, they get water breaks 4 or 5 times a day).

Lunch follows right away.  Boy, these kids can pack it in!  Even the little ones will eat up to 4 bowls of rice and soup!  The kids always help to clean up after meals. 

Eat up!

After lunch, they all go up to their rooms for one hour of quiet time (& hopefully a nap).  Then it's play time!  We've been introducing all sorts of fun activities....Games, sports, and singing.  They especially love the 'B-I-N-G-O' song.

 B-I-N-G-O...and Bingo was his name!

Hula hoop!

Alley oop!

Everybody loves colouring and drawing
Even the adults!


One of the workers takes time out for badminton with the kids 

Riding tandem

One of the older boys teaching
a little one to ride a bike

Some of the older kids have chores, including laundry and washing their bicycles. 

Scrub a dub!  Hand laundry - no washing machines here!
We leave for our guesthouse around 4 pm, and I've been told they later have their baths, then meditation time, then supper (not necssarily in that order.) 

I love every minute I'm out there, and I hope in some small way we're making a difference.

What's not to love?


  1. Questions out of curiosity!:
    - where were all of these kiddos before the orphanage opened?
    - I don't imagine that Cambodia has the equivilent of a foster parent system, or where children are "wards of the state" as we do in Canada, but I could be wrong? Who are their legal guardians?
    - Do Cambodian children have "summer break" like we do in Canada?
    - I wonder if it is disruptive to have volunteers come and go from these kids lives, or is some attention from strangers better than limited from regular adults?
    - At what age are children no longer allowed to live at the orphanage (18 y/o)? What then?
    - Are children ever adopted to families?
    - Are there post-secondary schools? What percentage of people have a post secondary education? How expensive is it?

  2. Doro, You know how much I'm loving reading your blog, but you should also know my friends are enjoying it as well. It's a topic of conversation at most every gathering I go to. So, keep 'em coming -- I read each one with my morning coffee. And, thanks for starting my day off with such a heartwarming message. Love ya. Sandy

  3. Dorothy, This is Sue, writing from the Amazon, where I´m really enjoying a rest, but missing you all every day. Thank you for writing this lovely blog which makes me feel I´m home with you all, and reduces the gap of miles to an arm´s reach. I´m so very glad Chhunly has already lined up jobs for your next visit, as that means we´ll be seeing you both again next year, and I´ll look forward to that, along with everyone else!
    Thank you to you both, two Special People who make a space in your lives to make a big difference to so many other people´s lives.
    Lots of love from Sue, Founder of HVC.