March 10 by Zoe and Rory

This morning we had the chance to sleep in until 8 am after the long, action-filled day yesterday. Then, around 8:15, we headed to the hotel breakfast, where we were thrilled to see a simple selection of Western options, which have been few and far between, such as peanut butter, Nutella, and white bread.

We enjoyed breakfast (and the hotel wi-fi) then journeyed to a traditional Cambodian cooking class at Le Tigre de Papier. Upon arrival, we were handed a menu and asked to select an appetizer and main course that we would learn to cook and ultimately eat for lunch. There was a myriad of interesting Cambodian dishes, but being picky eaters like ourselves, we settled on vegetable fried spring rolls and vegetable fried rice with egg.

After choosing what dishes to make, we headed to the market for ingredients, where we were overwhelmed with culture shock, and pungent smells. We weaved our way through the busy aisles in between the many tables of fresh produce, spices, nuts, meat, etc. We were most shocked when we passed a fish table, where half-alive fish floundered around, and with an elderly lady squatting in the middle with a huge knife, decapitating fish after fish and preparing them to be sold.

Once we gathered our ingredients in the market, we returned to the restaurant, donned our aprons and chef hats, and began preparing our meals. For us, this included shredding vegetables, wrapping and frying spring rolls, and stir-frying rice. After we finished preparing our meals, we went down stairs to enjoy them together.

With satisfied stomachs we headed to Artisans Angkor, a social enterprise that strives to educate underprivileged Cambodians about traditional craft forms. We walked through the buildings and were able to watch the different craftsman create. We saw some people carving soap stone sculptures, painting intricate paintings, and weaving silk. At the end of exploring, we all found our way to the amazing gift shop, where we were able to support the many artisans by purchasing handmade, authentic Cambodian gifts for our families.

Then, we headed to another social enterprise called Friends International where we learned about their initiative, which involves giving marginalized children and their families access to education and the opportunity to gain specific skill sets that can help them out of poverty and give them the ability to live better lives in general. We went back to the hotel for some down time, and then returned to this incredible social enterprise for dinner at their restaurant called Marum, where the Cambodians in training prepared a delicious meal for us.

After dinner we went to a Cambodian Circus, Phare Ponle u Sap, where we watched an incredible and entertaining show. This social enterprise also has the goal of providing opportunity for underprivileged Cambodians by teaching them a skill set that can help them out of poverty and towards better lives.

We were happy to be able to support three inspiring social enterprises today. Each one truly gives disadvantaged Cambodians a chance to live educated and purposeful lives. And of course, we enjoyed shopping, eating, and being entertained at the wonderful organizations as well.