Soccer in Siem Reap

It’s August. It rains. A lot. Not that Seattle drizzle type. REAL RAIN where every few seconds the tuk-tuk splashes through a pot hole and you wonder if it doubles as a kayak. I spent six weeks in the fall of 2014 coaching soccer to kiddos in Siem Reap through an organization that works with multiple NGOs throughout the area. I would spend each day heading to a new village to play sports with kids ages 4-12.

My life at this time:

  • Early breakfast at the guesthouse
  • Take a tuk tuk to a village within an hour-ish commute
  • Play soccer, volleyball, ultimate frisbee with the kids for 4-6 hours
  • Drive back
  • Wash my clothes while in the shower – for real – that’s how the laundry got done
  • Bike to dinner and stick to my $2 a night dinner budget – mostly street food at a cart near my place
  • Read, swim, wander, go to the market, get a foot massage
  • REPEAT

It was so much fun playing with the kids. My life was ALL SPORTS and ALL PLAY. What more could I ask for? 

And then there was the tear-jerker:

There was an orphanage that I went to a couple of times a week. It was about to shut down because they couldn’t make the payment of $300 USD per month to run it. One day the kids were all playing soccer on the cement and I was confused as to why they were all just wearing ONE cleat. I later found out that there had been a donation of shoes and although there weren’t enough in the right size for everyone, they wanted to share so thought that ONE shoe was better than NONE. That created a meltdown later in the evening for me. 

Some other volunteers I met were teaching English just outside of Siem Reap. To read more about what life is like as a local click here

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