The Outstanding Youth Picnic
April 06, 2008 was just a week from the Khmer New Year, I was pleased to join a picnic to Tamao mountain with a group of dynamic and energetic young people many of whom are fresh graduates and university students who were also contestants of the Youth Leadership Challenge (YLC) which is a TV show program organized by the Youth Council of Cambodia (YCC) and funded by USAID through IRI. I got to know these youth groups because I was part of the program, particularly to train and coach them on the public speaking skills.
The picnic was organized with an objective to have fun together and enhance our friendship as well as to give each other wishes for the Khmer New Year. Thanks to Chea Thong who helped organize the picnic and arrange the trip. We were supposed to depart Phnom Penh at 8 a.m from a point near the Independent Monument where we met up and got in the bus. However, we start the journey a bit late as we had to wait for one of our friends “Sokunthea” who reportedly had trouble finding the Independent Monument 🙂 (we were just teasing her). Then we had to pick up two more friends and planned to have breakfast on the way which we did.
As we stopped at a restaurant near one of the local market at Kandal Steung, we were told that there was no food left, I guess they had some left but just could not afford to supply too many hungry people like all of our group at that time. 🙂 so we decided to move on. It sounded like if we were starving on our way but that was not the case, you know why? Because we enjoyed so much then. Norin who is a Champion for the YLC is also a good guitarist and a pretty good singer, and Pichey who would not let his mouth shut for a minute is a good singer. The two guys performed on the bus all the way to the mountain while others also joined in singing different songs. The self introduction game which asked people to say about their personal style was also fun together with lots of jokes.
As we approached near to Tamao Mountain, we bought sticky rice cake called “Katom”, a small cake that has sticky rice inside and covered by palm leaf. We found it hard to uncover the leaf of the Katom so we had different way of eating it. Some of us just put the Katom in our mouth and crack it up 🙂 it worked okay as the sticky rice leaked in our mouth after we broke the cover and finally went to our stomach :). Oh man! it was fun eating this cake.
We arrived at Tamao mountain at around 11 a.m when we walked straight to the hub, a place for sitting, relaxing and having meals. Sopheaktra (a second champion of the YLC) and a few other friends went ahead to order food while others were walking around to explore things. They bought some fried ants (big ones) and ate them as snack while waiting for the big lunch.
Norin and Pichey continued the music and songs to entertain our group and other people around the hub. I was feeling a bit dizzy then after sitting with my face back to the group in the bus for a couple hours but I thought the main reason was because I laughed so much 🙂 . Thanks to a friend who gave me the oil which helped me feel better.
We had lunch at 12 o’clock with different delicious foods -thanks to Sopeaktra and those who helped order very good foods – which was important for all of us – to survive 🙂 -. After lunch, some people decided to take a short rest, some went straight to watch elephant performance, some walked around the zoo to see different animal and species. I walked with a group around the zoo where we saw many interesting animals and birds. We set to get together at the hub at 1:30 p.m when planned to have a group discussion about the youth situation in Cambodia.
As everyone got together at 1:30 p.m we began the session by dividing the group into three to have a discussion about three different topics: 1- where can we find the youth or which institutions are they belong to?; 2- what are the major concerns of the youth or what do they care about? 3- How can we reach to youth or what are the ways to communicate with them? Each group spent about 40 minutes to discuss the above topic and another 10 minutes to do presentation to the big group. The discussion was very participative and they gathered some very interesting and valuable information about the youth in Cambodia. The result of the group discussion is available in the next article.
For more photos, please click here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/26242706@N06/
Written by Preap Kol