My memoir

 I Realized How Strong I can be in Koh Kong 

Before Koh Kong

At 6:00 a.m. I was sitting at my desk in my bedroom. I was thinking about leeches because the next day I would be going to the evergreen forest in Koh Kong Province. At that time, my brain was imagining scary looking leeches, with their ugly faces and their fat bodies.

This is a picture of a leech.
This is a picture of a leech.

Later, my friend Neang, who comes from the same province as me, came in. She had been in the forest before me. She told me, “It is okay, the leeches will hurt you only a little bit and don’t worry about it too much.” Then we went to the kitchen and had lunch.


After lunch I started to pack. It was hard for me to pack everything from the packing list because it took a long time and there wasn’t so much space in the bag. I had to pack football socks to keep the leeches out of our pants. I also had to pack a blanket and sheet for sleeping.

This is my friends and I. We are trying to organize supplies in each backpack.

I am looking for more supplies.
I am looking for more supplies.

I felt anxious that sleeping in the forest would be uncomfortable for me and that  there would be  a lot of small organisms in the forest that are SCARY. 

 Then I asked myself “Am I strong enough?”. But I already knew that I could do it because my friends always told me I could do it. Then I  started to trust myself.

 Experiences in Koh Kong

One day later was a day that I needed to sit on a bus for about five hours. After we got to a small town called Andoung Teuk, we took a boat to go to Chi Phat.


It took us two hours on the boat to get to Chi Phat. There were many things going on on the boat. For example, Jeff, two of my friends, Malika and Thiny, and I did math. On the boat, all of the students also looked at the view from the boat, talked with each other and watched for birds.


 Jeff, Malika and I were practicing math.

Jeff, Malika and I were practicing math.


This is what it looked like on the left side of the boat.
This is what it looked like on the left side of the boat.


 A lot of my friends often sat on the deck of the boat because it was cool and not so loud.

A lot of my friends often sat on the deck of the boat because it was cool and not so loud.



Two hours later we got off the boat and made a long line to pass all of the bags and other supplies off the boat. When we arrived in Chi Phat it was afternoon, so we went straight to the guest houses.



Thiny, Kanha, Ma Kim and I stayed in the same guest house. While Kanha was taking a bath we put our bags down, then we all waited for Kanha to finish her bath. Later we walked to the Visitor Center to eat dinner altogether.


At the Visitor Center we did our reflection about how our day had been or what was challenging for us and we also shared what we learned. After reflection we went off to sleep. The next day we went into the forest. We walked a lot in the forest. This is the the first time in my life to see leeches. In the forest my legs were bitten by leeches. Now I realized my friend, Neang, was right – the leeches only hurt me a little bit.  Most of the time in the forest we were SCIENTISTS.


Somphors, Kanha and Sothea  holding  visitor fruit. We  picked them in the farm on our way to O’Malu waterfall. Sothea is our driver, he drove us from Phnom Penh, where our school is, to Koh Kong province.
Somphors, Kanha and Sothea holding visitor fruit. We picked them in the farm on our way to O’Malu waterfall. Sothea is our driver, he drove us from Phnom Penh, where our school is, to Koh Kong province.


In the forest we hiked for three days. It was slippery and there were no stairs in the forest. So, we needed to find strong branches to hold on to. Sometimes I found  thorny branches and they hurt my hands. Most of the time I slid down. My knees were cut by the sharp rocks and there was some algae growing on the rocks.


We explored O’malu waterfall and many other waterfalls, streams and the Stung Prat river.  We  slept at the forest shelter in our hammocks. While we were exploring O’malu waterfall my friends and I  picked the fruit called Pring Kchol. It’s a small, black​​​ shiny fruit with a seed inside and it has a long, thin, light green leaves.


We are walking to O’malu waterfall.
We are walking to O’malu waterfall.


And here we are at the O’malu waterfall. Those trees are the Pring Kchol trees. We are getting ready to swim!
And here we are at the O’malu waterfall. Those trees are the Pring Kchol trees. We are getting ready to swim!



After Koh Kong on holiday

A couple weeks after  Koh Kong was HOLIDAY! On my holiday I told my family, friends and neighbors about my trip to Koh Kong. While I was talking, one of my neighbors interrupted me and asked “You are a girl. Can you walk in the forest?”

“Why not?! I am strong like others,” I replied

“In my school called Liger, we don’t care whether you are a girl or boy” I explained.

After a while, I could tell that she understood it very well because I saw that her family didn’t care about whether you are a girl or boy. I knew this because I saw that her husband went to the market instead of her.


Current exploration

My new exploration, after the Koh Kong trip, was Tech Support. In this exploration we went to Singapore and I walked a lot. But I didn’t feel tired or lazy because I walked a lot more in Koh Kong than in Singapore.

I missed the people in Koh Kong and the smell in the village of Koh Kong. For example, the cook that cooked the yummy food for us, the moto drivers that drove us into the deep forest and the owner of the guest house that was nice and  kept the gate open for us when we returned to the guest house late.


My friends walking in Singapore.
My friends walking in Singapore.


My friends in Tropical Forest Ecology at O’malu waterfall!
My friends in Tropical Forest Ecology at O’malu waterfall!


This is why my trip to Koh Kong  is really important to me. I realized that it doesn’t matter if you are a girl or boy.You can do anything you want to if you trust


Tech Support 1

Exploration Name: Tech Support

Exploration Dates: August 13-Oct 3, 2014

Number of Students: 12


Description: Tech Support was the first Exploration of the second year. In Tech Support we learned about technology and helping other organizations, NGOs and Liger with their technology problems. On the first day Max, our facilitator taught us a little bit about the ideas that he made this Exploration. On the next day we started to learn more about technology. We learned about the parts of computers (hardware). On the second week we had a trip to Singapore! Before that day we prepared our clothes in our backpacks. When we arrived at the airport our parents came to say goodbye to us. We were so sad but we were also happy. On the plane people were talking to each other, some people hurt their ears because it’s hard to hear up there in the sky. When we arrived in Singapore we had to wait for the checker to check our passports. After we finished the check step there was a big surprise for us because Robert (the former head of Liger) came and was waiting for us. He came and said hello to us, we were shocked. About 15 minutes later we went straight to UWCSEA South East Campus. We went there because we want to collaborate with them so we can help NGOs and organizations in Cambodia. There were seven members that worked with us. The first day that we met them we played some games to know and get familiar with each other. Then we found out our host family that we were going to sleep with for two days. Our host families were so friendly and kind. We went there and learned with an IT expert more about the hardware of the computers. On the third day we camped in UWCSEA. Also we went to the science museum to learn and have fun. Sadly on Wednesday we had to leave Singapore. When we came back we went to two organizations to help them. One of them is Tiny Toons. They have problems with their computer. We took five computers to fix at Liger. Luckily we fixed two of them already! The other organization is Green Umbrella, and they have a problem with their website so we helped to fix it.

Tropical Forest Ecology Description

Name: Tropical Forest Ecology

Date: May 5 2014 – June 17 2014

Number of People: 12

Essential Questions:

  1. How are organisms and the nonliving environment interconnected in the world around us?
  2.  What is the value of tropical forest ecosystems for Cambodia?
  3. How do humans impact tropical forest ecosystems in Cambodia? Is it possible to use tropical forests sustainably?

Description: In Tropical Forest Ecology we learned about Ecosystems. Ecosystems are a community of organisms that are interconnected and connected with non-living things. We went on two trips because we wanted to experience and see forest directly.We went to Preah Vihear and Koh Kong provinces. When we came back we compared the dry deciduous dipterocarp forest ecosystem (Preah Vihear province) with the evergreen forest ecosystem (Koh Kong province). In Preah Vihear we went to Tmatboey community and in Koh Kong we went to Chi Phat community. We learned about conservation. Conservation means taking care or protecting something. While we learned about conservation, we also learned about sustainable and unsustainable. Sustainable is the action that does not destroy the ecosystem. Unsustainable is the action that destroys the ecosystem. We learned about ecotourism. Ecotourism is tourism that uses and benefits the ecosystem. That is one way that we use ecosystems sustainably.Also we learned about ecological services. Ecological services are the benefits that people get from ecosystems. There are three ecological services such as provisioning services, regulating services and cultural services. Provisioning services are how the ecosystem provides us directly. Ex: Trees give us resin. Regulating services are how the ecosystem regulates the climate. Ex: Trees stop the floods by absorbing the water. Cultural services are how the ecosystems give us something culturally. Ex: Bambuti people use forest plants to smoke for their ceremonies.  We answered our essential questions by using the knowledge that we got from our trips.

Public Relations Description

Exploration Name: Public Relations (PR)

Exploration Dates: March 10th-May 2nd, 2014

Number of students: 8

Essential Questions/ Areas:

1. Literacy Coaching

2. Presentation Skills

3. Global Connections


In our Exploration class, we had three things to work on. The first area was global connections. Global connections mean that we share what we do at Liger with people around the world by using Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and blog. The first thing we used is Instagram because we can post the picture and caption to show what we do at Liger. The second area we practiced was literacy coaching. Literacy coaching is about teaching other students about literacy. This means when students need help to edit a blog or presentation we help them edit and give them some feedback or advice.The last is Presentation skills. The presentation skills we learned about are stance, eye contact, fidget, speed, and volume. Our goal was to share Liger to the world, have more people come to our Exploration Celebration and get more followers on Instagram.


TV Reporter Description

Exploration Name: TV Broadcasting

Exploration Dates: January 20th – March 7th

Number of Students: 8

Description: In the TV Broadcasting group we learned about how to be a good emcee, film, and about the different jobs. We divided into four jobssuch as producer, editor, cameraman, and emcee. A producer has to make a script for emcee. Also they have to make a storyboard and tell the cameraman what plot they want for the video. After all of this, they have to sit with the editor to tell what we want the video about. A editor also has a hard work to do. They have to make sure that the video is right and what they want. A cameraman has to go to take a video with the producer. Before the emcee talks in the real show they have to understand what the script is about. In our class we made one documentary about Liger. Before we made a documentary we took some trips to some TV stations and met with the producer. We went to the CTN channel station and Apsara channel station. We got a lot of experience from the emcee and the producer. It helped us a lot when we made our documentary.

Documentary Description

Exploration Name: Documentary

Exploration Dates: November 20 – January 17

Number of students: 12

Description: The first day of our class was very exciting because we heard from the teacher that we were going on a trip to Siem Reap for four days. It was just one week away. But we had to write our thoughts about why we would go to Siem Reap. Before we went on a trip we had to learn about shots and how to use a camera because to make a documentary we have to film. Some of the documentaries were about the sand business, rice farm and waterways in Siem Reap. The last day of the trip we rode a boat to see the waterways and even the floating village. It was a fun trip but we learned a lot too! Our goal was to make our own documentary about the waterways. At the end of our Exploration we made it, so now we have our own documentary.


Newspaper Description

Exploration Name: Newspaper

Exploration Dates: October 7 to November 19

Number of students: 12

Essential Questions:

(1) Why do we have newspapers?

(2) Historically, what have newspapers sought to do?

(3) How is the purpose enhanced or diminished by external factors (freedom of speech, infrastructure)?

(4) What do reporters do and what are their ethical responsibilities?

(5) What is the process of creating a newspaper from start to finish? What role does technology play?


In our newspaper class we had a lot of hard things to do but there were fun things to do too. The first thing we did was get introduced to some of the old and famous newspapers. Later on we got the name of one of the newspapers and did the research in pairs or groups. On Friday afternoon we had assembly so we did our presentation one by one. Everyday we learned new things about newspapers and it was very exciting. The most hard and exciting part was we made our own newspaper about our school. Also we went on a late night trip to the Phnom Penh Post printing press at 10:00pm. It was so late we got to sleep in the teacher apartment. The name of our newspaper is Liger Post. We sold it at NISC, ICan, coffee shops and restaurants. At the end we made about $280. We gave some to the Documentary group to do the bike race and some to the orphanage at Siem Reap. Each student on the team also got some money, about $8 each.


Community English Description

Exploration Name: Community English

Exploration Dates: August 12th-September 16th

Number of Students: 12

Essential Questions: Is there a best way to teach and learn?

How does knowing English effect change?

Description: Our first opening Exploration was Community English. In Community English we learned how to prepare and teach lessons to other people. But before we taught we needed to find the people who want to learn with us. To find the students we went into the community. After we knew clearly who wanted to come and learn at Liger, we gave the permission to their parents. So all of their parents can trust us. Then they let their child come and learn at Liger.

After we knew exactly who would come to learn, we prepared the lesson for them. When we went to the community to find them we also asked them what do they want to learn and that’s how we can prepare the lesson. When we finished planning the lesson we practiced before teaching students. We practiced with each other in our class. Even if we practiced with each other it does not mean that we are expert or good at it. So we had a trip to two schools. The schools are Northbridge and ICAN. At ICAN we met with one woman named Kate. Kate and Jessica prepared the schedule for us and some ICAN students to tour us around. We went there because we wanted to get experiences from the teachers at their school. Two to three days after that we went to Northbridge. At the end of the Exploration we asked some of the students how they felt and what did they think about our teaching (if its good or not). We gave them the lessons for free.