Today I started at New Hope Cambodia.
The NGO takes Volunteer Code of Conduct and Child Protection quite seriously so we are required to a bit of initial training, before we visit the 3 departments - school, clinic and outreach. By then, the kids at the school come to recess and they are always excited about volunteers. They want to grab your hands, your legs, your arms. They want to tell us their names. They're not spoiled, they don't walk around with toys. Some of this kids don't even own shoes but they smile at you in a way that will disarm even the most cynical.
I'm assigned for the first 4 weeks to the Outreach program, and I work on the floor above the clinic. Once I step in, I see the line of ill people, waiting for the doctors to check on them. This is the moment when I don't feel like complaining anymore about the 17 vaccine doses I got throughout the past 3 weeks. Actually, sanitation is one of the big problems. The dirt, the smell, the garbage outside the NHC complex is quite overwhelming. All the staff carries around hand sanitizer at all times and believe me, this little babies are kind of your best friends around here. My job is every task related to the social work on the slum: I've spent part of the afternoon separating donated clothes by gender and type. Then, somebody in the slum was in need of medication, so we headed there to bring it. Although I felt prepared for what I was about to see, reality proved me wrong in just a few minutes. It's truthfully heartbreaking. And although I will elaborate on this soon, right now I need a minute to get my shit together.
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