A beautiful day at the beach

Written by on January 4, 2011 in My Family Photos, Notes By The Way, Photo Posts with 5 Comments

Scroll down for the pictures. Last Christmas friends and kind strangers donated enough money to take the kids and staff from Wat Opot on a special trip to Kirirum, a hilly hideaway two hours outside Phnom Penh. This year our friends in Japan raised just over $400. With that money, plus some more donated by friends of Wat Opot in Cambodia, there was enough to take 49 kids and 14 adults (plus our family) on a day trip to Rabbit Island, off the coast by the town of Kep. Once again the children were so excited. They went to bed all cleaned up and already wearing their beach clothes; then they woke up at 3:30 am. Finally the bus departed at 6 am. The group reached the island about 9 am, and the fun began: playing in the ocean, floating on inner tubes, relaxing on the sand, eating fried chicken, and soaking up the new experience. Many of the kids had never seen the sea before. They wouldn’t hesitate to jump head first into a muddy pond, but several had to overcome fears in order to swim in the vastness and coolness of the sea. We were so fortunate and grateful to join their adventure. It’s been a long time since I saw the ocean for the first time, but I got to experience it again through their eyes. I was also glad to see our girls play with their friends, discovering starfish and crabs together and sharing the moment. Some of the boys were teasing Reia, which she reported happily. After returning from the island, we hung out and ate at a local market. The kids got some spending money; we gave equal amounts to our girls (about 50 cents, which they spent on little bags of spicy dried squid). We ate at sunset. Vandy sketched the scene, and Jani stared out to sea thinking her private thoughts. These kids love life, but they have already lost more than most, starting with parents and homes. As dusk fell, they piled into the bus and departed with smiles and glowing memories, and very tired.



About the Author

About the Author: Andy Gray is a writer and photographer living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and working with Alongsiders International. You can find him puttering around the streets of Phnom Penh on his Suzuki Viva 125, running stoplights and driving on the wrong side of the road or on the sidewalks like a local. If you see him in a coffee shop, he'll be the one typing and deleting the same line over and over again. .


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  • Caro

    Andy what great pictures, thank you!

  • Pingback: Wat Opot Children’s Community » A Day at the Beach()

  • Fiona Newsome New Zealand

    Hi Andy…….. you and your friends yet again given some more valuable experience for these children to have.
    And you have captured some beautiful photo moments of this awesome day at the beach. So very special!!!! I miss the children so much….but i can see them through the eyes of your lense…..Thank you for that. I hope to see you and Hitomi and your girls again at Wat Opot later this year.

  • Matt

    I was lucky enough to spend a day on Rabbit Island during my trip to Cambodia in 2007. It was such a special spot. As beautiful as it was when I was there, it does not compare to the beauty captured in your photos of the children and their smiles.

  • Thanks, I’m glad you like them so much.