Last Day at the Orphanage

I realised it was my last day only when I was halfway down a corridor running as fast as I could with Samit laughing uproariously at the speed. I had five minutes left and only one more child to wheel away home.

I had been preoccupied. Marie told us at lunch that she had been sent a warning from the Danish government advising anyone visiting Cambodia to stay home for the weekend. I had an email from the NZ government too.

Phnom Penh Post and The Cambodia Daily were giving live updates via their websites, advising of road closures, a weekend alcohol ban and news of the government closely monitoring NGO’s for any election bias. The Commune Elections were 2 days away and the two main political parties had both decided to take their respective parties on a rally through the city today.

As well as that, another bus load of tourists had come through while we were finishing our dancing to Cha Cha Slide. It’s fairly embarrassing awkwardly dancing in front of a gawking group of shocked tourists, a few of them attempted some of the ‘slide’ moves. Rather than allaying the atmosphere, these rhythmic group outliers just added to the overall strange feeling in the air. We studiously tried to pretend they didn’t exist.

I returned to the volunteer room, slumping in the chair like normal at the end of a muggy day. Raksmey eventually burst into the room, yelling she had forgotten! My last day!!! I know, I know! It’s fine! It’s fine! She shoulder bopped me with a hug goodbye and gave me a letter. It was very sweet.

Gathering my things, I wondered what the weekend would bring. I wondered whether the orphanage would ever stop the tourist busloads coming in. And, if we couldn’t go out this weekend, how the hell would I manage on the Airhouse meals alone??

I think I was going to miss the kids quite a bit.


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