Teaching Monks in Cambodia

Written By Kaylee, Latitudes ’19 Cambodia

Throughout my effervescent bunch of weeks living in Kep, Cambodia, I have truly learned more about myself in these last three months than I have in my whole 19 years of living. My volunteer opportunities consist of me teaching English, spending time with a local family, and introducing/teaching some fun artsy craft workshops into the Vagabond Temple community.

I feel honored to be able to be such a huge impact on some of these people’s lives. I’ve gained so much selflessness and compassion, only to thank my peers for. Sophie, another Carpe Student, and I, were teaching English to a group of young Buddhist Monks who are fairly new to the language. Their ages were 4-13 and one boy was even 17. They are a bundle of playful, energetic, mischievous, perky little dudes and it was hard to keep in mind that they are committed to a strictly precise lifestyle. Though they have rules to follow, their Lead Monk is very lenient and gracious when it comes to them being playful due to the fact that he was happy and appreciate that his boys in training were getting somewhat of an education. Sophie and I would do color, animal, number, etc circles where the boys would have to tell us whatever was on the card. The boys were there to learn and even though timid when we first met them, it didn’t take too long for them to get curious and go through our bags or sneak our phones away. Knowing that they were excited to see us whenever we were scheduled to have a session with them, really made me appreciate the important things in life. Sophie and I were even able to host them at our temple a couple of times. We practiced yoga, did some games, and made them run around the yoga hall a bunch. Those boys are little speed demons and go for hours! Also, due to the language barriers it was hard to keep them on track but I also know that they have very selective hearing and like to misbehave. They were like herding cats but at the end of the day and we’d have to say goodbye and see them off, all I could think about was how fun we all are having with one another and how children really do remind us to not be so serious all the time, to go easy on ourselves, and just simply have fun. Notes earnestly taken.