TravelAid 2010: Debbie

August 25, 2010

Arriving at JWOC on our first day we really had no idea what to expect. Following Andrew into a modern complex I was incredibly surprised to see how developed JWOC was, despite being a relatively new charity. Essentially none of us were entirely sure what we would be expected to do. Camilla, however calmed our nerves with a clear explanation and my anxiety rippled into waves of excitement.

Of course, the highlight of my first day was meeting my intern. Sokim seemed sweet and polite and, most importantly, eager to start! Games with the JWOC staff helped break the ice since we felt as ridiculous as each other. I think it’s safe to say day one at JWOC left us feeling relieved – we knew amusing children and teaching English for four weeks would be challenging, but judging by the welcome we received we also knew we would enjoy it massively. I grew to appreciate how JWOC was a quietly busy place to be- there was always something to do. The nine of us really had to rack our brains for enough ideas to occupy children everyday and there were times I felt extremely disheartened when they didn’t work but I think that despite the cultural and linguistic barriers, in the end, kids will be kids and they mostly had lots of fun.

Sokim and the others were indispensible in the activity camps- not only for translation but for bringing their talents to the class (especially Kuemhong and his dancing). Developing a bond with the interns has definitely been one of my favourite aspects of our time spent here- through the activity camp and other projects we have grown closer and dare I say, become friends.

And my entry could not possibly be complete without a mention of Phong. The vision of him toddling on the grass with a t-shirt matching our own made us all fall in love with him.

So I guess the last thing I have to mention is a massive thank you to Andrew, Camilla and the rest of the JWOC staff for giving us this amazing opportunity and unforgettable experience.

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