Posted at 09:18h Written by Amanda Martin and Samnang Pak, 2014 Southeast Asia: Cities & Sanctuaries Program Leaders.
in Southeast Asia
It’s pouring rain, the bus was 2 hours late, our beds are wet and the kids are LOVING IT!!!! Monsoon season is in full swing here in Cambodia! Don’t worry! We are prepared. Dancing in the rain, laundry in the rain, hair washing in the rain, soccer in the rain, long-romantic walks in the rain, we’ve been ready for the rain from the beginning! Now, we are at the beach breaking and singing with Tiny Toones… in the rain! Although, the sun did come out to play on our last afternoon!
Tiny Toones is ranked one of the top 7 NGOs in Cambodia. Working with marginalized inner-city street youth in Phnom Penh, the organization is getting kids off the street and back into the classroom. Their teachers and staff are former street kids who are passionate about hip-hop, breaking, music, and education. These kids are drawn in by their passion and are the next generation who will take on the torch at Tiny Toones. Their teachers selected the kids who would go on the retreat with us based on their showing of potential, respect, dedication, intelligence, and leadership. Our gang of 11 OGers is now kicking it with 13 Tiny Toones kids ranging from as young as nine years old to about seventeen, many of whom have never been to the ocean before, including one of our own!
We spent a few days in the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh, before heading to the beach. During the day, the city is hot, dusty, and busy, but at night the charm of Cambodia takes over as the palaces and temples light up and everyone heads out into the parks to enjoy the break in heat. We visited the Killing Fields and the S-21 Prison, understanding more completely the tragic history of genocide the country experienced such a short time ago. A visit to the Tiny Toones center lifted our spirit as we took part in a dance class and were met with boundless energy! A dance party and BBQ with some of the TT staff, prior to their trip to Australia and Singapore for hip-hop workshops, left everyone in the group on a high and eager to learn some more moves and plan a killer retreat for the next generation.