Siem Reap, Cambodia // Day 1 // Self Help Community Centre

After settling in and locking up our valuables, the next item on our to-do list was to visit the community that I had looked up over the Internet. Since we were visiting Cambodia, we had wanted to contribute our role for the people in the country.

Orphanages were our first choice but it isn’t difficult to find out about the scandals surrounding all the orphanages in Cambodia. Some of these orphanages were operated by profit-driven individuals making use of children to gain money via volunteerism. It isn’t easy to sieve through all the information trying to grab hold of the most reliable community but we eventually settled for Self Help Community Centre.

“Self Help Community Centre (SHCC) is a Non Government Organisation (NGO) that provides a safe environment for over 1500 disadvantaged children and young adults in Kro Bei Riel Community in Siem Reap.”

SHCC, unlike other orphanages, offers assistance by building a community for the villagers in Kro Bei Riel. Our tuk tuk driver also happened to grow up in a village in the area as he enthusiastically shared his past experiences with us.

What I liked about SHCC is the idea that they provide “educational and vocational opportunities”  to “[support] children and their families to become self-sufficient and sustainable in the future”. Instead of dressing up the children and asking them to perform for tourists, SHCC took a long-term approach in improving the circumstances of its villagers.

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A tuk tuk ride from our hostel to SHCC took a good 20-minutes and we managed to catch a glimpse of the beautiful sights offered by Siem Reap.
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When we arrived, many of these children seemed intrigued by our appearance. We met with Sambat and he gave us a brief introduction into the community’s developments. 2 days before arriving at Cambodia, there was a massive storm that destroyed several houses in the village. SHCC is currently raising funds to rebuild these houses. P1080153

Sambat also gave us a short tour through the village and showed us the developments over the years. In a short span of several years, the community has emerged witha marketplace for villagers to trade and sell goods, and study areas/ school(s) for the children to study. SHCC is also building a new school to house more students. P1080156

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We left after the introduction of the village and dropping a small amount of our sincerity. We merely donated an insignificant amount but we were told that it would be sufficient to buy 200kg of rice for the students who need help from SHCC.

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Guess heaven was kind enough as we were again greeted by the amazing sights of sunset with unblocked view as we travelled back to town for dinner.P1080185 P1080186 P1080189 P1080190 P1080191 P1080194 P1080198 P1080202 P1080203 P1080206 P1080207 P1080209

We had requested for our tuk tuk driver to drop us somewhere with Cambodian BBQ buffet but instead were dropped at a hotel for buffet which costs 12 usd per pax. It was too high a price to pay and we decided to turn back and look for a second place for dinner.

Couldn’t find our driver anywhere and we ended up waiting for another 20 mins only to realize that he was nearby all the while. -.-”

Dinner was this Cambodian BBQ place blogged by someone on the Internet. Basically, Cambodian BBQ is similar to Thailand’s mookata so the barbecue plate is dome-shaped on the top while the wet items will be cooked around the pot.
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5 usd for everything. Drinks are not included though. Lelong lelong!P1080212 P1080214 P1080215 P1080216

My verdict is that it’s not even worth a mention so skip skip skip. Plus, the place had a bit of issue with flies so it doesn’t feel very comfortable eating here.

Afterwards, we headed to their supermart to grab some essentials. One of the must-do item on every trip is to check out their supermarkets/convenience stalls and the traditional marketplace. The local markets give you a real sense of local life and the dietary habits of its people.

Turns out that lots of products sold tended to be those that we find in Singapore.P1080219… Except that they are slightly cheaper. Like beer. $0.60 usd for a can of beer. Amazing.
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Our final leg of the day’s journey was to visit the coffee house near our hostel to settle our craving for sweets. This scoop of Mocha ice cream for 1 usd was simple yet satisfying enough before we turned in for the night. P1080224

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