After two classes, I am excited to say that the workshop is off to a great start. The girls are endearing, funny, a little shy, and excited. Classes are conducted sitting on the floor in a circle. In Cambodia, it’s rude to point your feet at people (or touch their heads…), so girls sit with their feet tucked away to the side.
For the first day off class, a local Buddhist environmental organization came in and made a presentation on the environment, conservation of forests in Cambodia, and how preserving the environment can be not just a way to protect nature but also for Cambodians to make a living via eco-tourism. My hope was that this talk would bring up some points about why conservation is important, which might not be immediately obvious to ladies dealing with the life and death issues of sex trafficking.
In the second class, we got to know the girls better in a more casual way. We played a memory game where everyone had to say their favorite animal, and remember everyone else’s favorite animals who had gone before them, which made for lots of playful slaps and giggles. Why one girl chose venomous snakes as her favorite is beyond me, though! Kevin is now officially named “The Giraffe”, because he made a big crash-bang when he knocked a table. This was right after we were told that Cambodians like to keep their voices soft and shut doors quietly. So much for that ! You can ask Kevin sometime to say “My name is Giraffe” for you in Khmer :)
The girls aren’t terribly excited about tigers yet, but we’ll see what happens after we talk a bit about the creature and try to brainstorm some funny stories. Will keep you posted on what happens today and tomorrow!