Step by step, one by one, pretty soon we’re gonna be done. Like all other days, today started off with us failing to leave on the dot, sigh. Our worries of us being unable to complete today’s tasks were intensified as we had to stopover the Catholic Church of Siem Reap to collect some boxes of raisin bread for the kids at the village. Wanting to be all geared up for a day of hard work of painting, we tried to catch forty winks on our typically bumpy and rocky road up to Ta-om. Nonetheless, even though our driver for today was different from the previous days, we managed to arrive at the time we estimated, yay 🙂
Not wanting to waste anymore time, we broke off into groups and started painting the exterior of the library, touching up and removing the dust from the well-sawed wooden planks – this was just the tip of the iceberg. We then proceeded on to paint the handmade bamboo meshes for the upper walls of the library, which I must admit was quite a challenging task as we had to arch our backs and squat in uncomfortable positions under the blazing sun which shone relentlessly.
In the twinkle of an eye, it was time for lunch, which provided somewhat of a respite after a half day of tiring painting. The lazy afternoon heat did influence some of us after lunch, in which we were distracted by the adorable puppies and innocent kids. Cognizant of our task at hand, soon, we went back to more painting; this time, we had to paint the shelves, a fence-like wall and the window frames. Despite the task seeming rather boring, we showcased great teamwork and skill and managed to complete the task even faster than we had expected. Of course, during the task, we had fun teasing each other about their past relationships while some of us broke out in song, singing the randomnest songs from High School Musical to ?? O_O One of our very ‘blur’ friends even placed a paint bucket on another person’s head which resulted in him having a few streaks of cream coloured hairs. :/ Owell, I guess this is good evidence of our hard work! 🙂
Come to think of it, it is amazing how we actually accomplished so much in a mere 4 days. From a scaffolding that did not really resemble a library but a mere house, our library now bears testimony to the result of one’s sweat and blood – how teamwork and cooperation transcends and helps us overcome any challenges and how every bit counts. I must mention that the library is far from being complete, we still have a few finishing touches and a few more installations to make before we can truly call it a library! It was also interesting to see how even though the villagers werent exactly well-educated, they had ideas of pasting scotch-tape around the window frames to prevent the grey-coloured paint from seeping through and ruining our initial efforts but still ensuring a nicely painted rectangle could be formed.
It is amazing how happy, gracious and giving these Cambodians are. Though living in obvious poverty, some even lacking the necessary food, giving their guests, us, food was done with no hesitation. Everyday we arrived to the village greeted with welcoming smiles and open arms, full of love and joy. It is hard to believe that such standards of living still exist in this world, and despite in such conditions, the happiness present in the lives of these people. Truly, economic development and status is not a real reflection of happiness.
I believe appreciation is the key emotion that all of us feel. An emotion that many of us in our well comforted, developed world lack. It is astonishing how we have so much, but value so little. How we have so much, but smile so little. How we have so much, and yet are so unfulfilled.