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40 Days of Joy

40 Days of Joy

For 40 days, a courageous online dating games student went on an exhilarating journey to help kids in the rural areas of Cambodia. By BMCC undergrad Justin Wong Zhe Xuan.

It was the 17th day; located at the sandy terrain of Siem Reap is an orphanage where abandoned kids are situated. The scorching weather and the lack of hygiene knowledge left the orphanage a terrible stink. Yee Pei could smell the urine that was covered on the bed sheets, the stale food portage mi singles that has been left on the kitchen table for days, and feces that were smeared all over the children’s ripped clothing.

Despite all of that, it didn’t stop the 19-year old to hug them.

Suthi is a crybaby; Suthier is the more obedient one. They are a pair of twin brothers. Their parents put them in the orphanage until they are old enough to go to school. Yee Pei couldn’t grasp this concept that was being adapted there.

“I find this ridiculously enraging, the parents are just going to miss the best phase of their kids’ lives.” said Yee Pei. Every time the twins see her coming through the front door, they will run and leap into her warm embrace with huge smiles hung on their faces. “I swear. That’s the happiest moment of my life.” she wrote as one of her captions in a photo that was uploaded onto her Facebook profile.

It might be the happiest and most memorable moment for Yee Pei but it was a terrible nightmare for her parents as they despise the idea of their daughter being a lone traveler in a third world country.

“There was no way they were going to let me go,” Yee Pei said frustratingly. She still showed some signs of disappointment during the interview whenever her parents were mentioned.

Her parents and her discussed about doing volunteering work in Cambodia but a consensus just wasn’t established regardless of her noble reasons. She gave up persuading them at one point, and made a very impulsive decision. She hover her laptop’s mouse over to Air Asia’s website and booked

her flight tickets without her parents knowing.

“We didn’t talk to each other for two weeks after that,” she said. “I just gave up explaining my objectives and such to them.” she sighed as she explains her family’s stand on her decision.

For 40 days, the courageous student went on an exhilarating journey to help kids in the rural areas of Cambodia. Yee Pei worked for 3 months as a barista and a freelancer to fund the trip herself but it still wasn’t enough. She had to think of another plan. A plan that requires the help from kind hearted netizens. Yee Pei started an online fundraising campaign which garnered a lot of attention from her friends and relatives after she shared it out onto her Facebook. “From that, I was able to raise 590USD.” she stated with a sense of gratefulness.

One of the things that Yee Pei enjoyed the most out of the trip was being treated like a celebrity, not the typical Hollywood celebrity but a celebrity that led a shed of light to the children. Wherever she goes, she gets eyed on by the adults; the children will approach her to get a closer look and be curious at everything she does, every moves that she makes.

“Because like in Kampong Thom, there’s no foreigner, it isn’t a tourist attraction,” she explained. “So when they see a foreigner, they (the children) will touch your hair and say you’re pretty and stuff.”

Doing all the good deeds in Cambodia have made Yee Pei realized that teenagers here in Malaysia and teenagers there are of huge extreme differences. Putting aside the materialistic differences between us and them, the only thing that they have better than us is their attitude towards life. “They wake up at 4.30am every day and they’ll start fetching water from the pond.” she explains. “They keep thinking they are poor, they have no money, hence drives them even more to work harder.

Yee Pei goes out of her room to teach the kids on time every day paris tn sexy singles at 7 in the morning and ends her work at 4 in the evening. After some rest, she would mingle around in the village to chit chat with the villagers. In the mean time she has also taken up some Khmer for herself.

“I didn’t learn it (Khmer) beforehand because I was expecting them to know a bit of English, but then I had to force myself to learn Khmer when the situation wasn’t as ideal as I thought,” said Yee Pei.

The initial objectives that she has set for herself is to be able to educate the kids there, and to teach them English. She manages to teach the kids basic alphabets, numbers and also pronunciations.

“I was expecting them to pick up the language easily, I expected too much,” sighed Yee Pei. “And then only I realized, something so easy for us can be so much more difficult for them.”

Religion is no doubt a huge part of the people’s lives there. It’s their survival kit. Regardless of whether it’s Buddhism or Christianity, it is a pillar of hope for them.

Yee Pei attended church services every Sunday with her home stay owner, a Malaysian woman who’s migrated to Cambodia for more than 20 years. According to singles pakistan for indians Yee Pei, the woman introduced Christianity to the local villagers.

“They are very crazy about God,” she exclaimed. “It’s the only thing (religion) that could tell them there is still hope for them.”

Yee Pei then continues to mention that is one of the major differences she sees in people there and here. “We don’t realize how important hope is until we’re in a desperate situations like them.”

As Yee Pei has became some sort of like a teacher to

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the children that she has taught, one of her biggest wishes for the children is to be able to speak fluent English in the near future. Speaking English in Cambodia is an added value to any organization and company in the country because it’s a rare occasion for people there to converse in English.

“I wish they can go out and see the world,” she added. “They are pretty much always stuck in their village and never actually get to go out.”

Some of the teenagers that live in Siam Reap have never actually been to Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious monuments in the world and the most visited tourist attraction in Cambodia, despite that it’s only a couple of hours away from the province. The bus fare is too high for the teenagers to afford.

“I think I would really want to have my own foundation when I’m older,” she hesitated for a while when asked about her ultimate goal in 15 years.

“Maybe a foundation that would be able to fund a village of kids to go to school.” continued Yee Pei

In August 2014, the 19-year old business student went back to Cambodia for the second time after her 40-day trip. She went with both her sisters this time to the same orphanage in the village.

Yee Pei stepped into the same door of the orphanage but there were barely anyone that ran to her. Suthi and Suthier couldn’t recognize their teacher anymore. As Yee Pei carries them in her chest, they wouldn’t stop crying showing a sense of unfamiliarity.

Suthier now has huge scar-looking bubbles on his face due to a rare skin disease that he caught on. He has also gotten much skinnier when compared to before. Yee Pei’s tears came rolling down her face.

“They don’t have money to look for doctors,” sighed Yee Pei.

According to the Rural Poverty Portal, Cambodia has an approximate of 3.7million population that’s in poverty as of the year 2010. The poorest people in Cambodia live in rural and remote areas which are very far from basic social and health facilities located in the city centers.

The locals earn around 1 USD per day according to Yee Pei and the low wage has made them not being able to afford anything pricey. Thus making agriculture activities dearly assets to them.

“I think they have to be educated,” Yee Pei suggested. The country is very far behind in terms of education because there used to be a dictator that murdered all the educators and intelligent elites in the country which is why they don’t have any form of education for a term of 30 years, she said.

Throughout this trip, it has opened Yee Pei’s mind a lot and she got to experience a variety of culture and diversity. She has definitely learned a lot during the trip.

“I know this sounds cliché but I learnt to be grateful because after coming back from Cambodia, I was mindful of the things I do and every decision I make.” she said.

All the little things that do not matter to her before, matters to her now.

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