Siem Reap: Temple Tours and Shadow Puppet Orphanage
Published March 27, 2012
Greetings from Cambodia!
Today Milo and I reunited with the Laguna Blanca School group in Siem Reap, where we’re all having a great time.
Today’s activities involved visits to some of Angkor’s “lesser” temples, if you can call them that—even the smaller, more remote complexes are staggeringly beautiful, juxtaposing human artifice with the power of nature, where the tenacious jungle weaves through the ancient stone monuments. Students had the opportunity to climb and explore the ruins first hand before we headed out to an afternoon volunteer project with the puppetry orphanage.
The puppetry orphanage is located a few miles out of town, adjacent to some of Angkor’s most ancient temples. Here the children learn to carve shadow puppets and revive an ancient storytelling tradition in order to help support the orphanage and defray the costs of their education. Everyone was deeply moved by the sweetness of the kids and how humbly they live (dirt floors and group bunks), not to mention their motivation to acquire an education and learn English in hopes of gaining a better life. While visiting, our students had a chance to make their own puppet carvings. We also had time to interact with the children and help them practice their English. None of us wanted to leave, but as evening approached, it was time for us to return to Siem Reap for dinner. As we left, the children gathered to see us off, singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” as they bowed, hands at heart center.
Tomorrow we’ll be exploring the temples of Angkor’s “Grand Circuit.” The students are all eager to visit the illustrious Angkor Wat and jungle-entwined Ta Phrom.
More to come soon.
Peace and love,