Students improving health for families December 11, 2017

Monks Cambodia

Posted in on December 11, 2017

Stories of Survivors

Day 1 – Phnom Penh

Yesterday we visited Tuol Sleng, the genocide museum. Our guide was a survivor of the genocide and shared incredible stories of his experiences as well as stories from S21 a high school that was converted to a prison and torture camp. There we met Chum Mey one of four survivors from the prison. Students were very tired but highly attentive and moved as he shared his story with us.
We finished the day having dinner at a non-profit that teaches local youth to cook and serve in order to create job opportunities. Now preparing for our trip to the Killing Fields and to our village in Kep.
Duncan, DWC Volunteer – St. Edmund Campion

At the Killing Fields
A moment of peaceful reflection
for the people of Cambodia

Local Encounters

Day 2 – Project work begins
Today we connected with our community near Kep. We began our work project, which involved making an irrigation gate as well as a latrine for one of our families. The students were amazing as they learned quickly from our new friends and made great progress on each of the projects. They also loved speaking with the students from the nearby primary school as they biked by our work site on their way home.

The joy in the students as they encountered the local students was very heartwarming. We also enjoyed a lunch prepared for us by a family in the village. It was excellent. Everyone is very tired and heading to bed to get ready for another day at the work site tomorrow.
Duncan, DWC Volunteer – St. Edmund Campion

Views and connections

Day 3 – Inspiration comes in many forms

We had another incredible day here in Kep. We started the day with our Market activity, which provided pairs of students with $4000 riels (1 USD – the equivalent of a daily wage for the people in our community) and they had to try and buy enough food for a family of five for one day. It was an eye opener for them as they struggled to even buy the minimum amount of food to survive let alone consider proper nutrition.

We then headed back to the work site where progress was made even with breaks where the students further connected to the local school children. One break ended up in a soccer game where our students were having fun encouraging the children, especially the girls to play along.

After we cleaned up from working we headed to a Buddhist temple, where we met Monks and a nun. We participated in a ceremony which included us offering prayers and then having the Monks chant with the idea of helping us have our prayers come true. The master Monk gave us a tour of the property and the temple, which included an incredible aerial view of the Kep area.
Our busy day concluded with a us celebrating mass at Don Rua chapel. It was an inspiring mass as most of the congregation were young children. Their singing was absolutely beautiful. An incredible end to a very full day.
Duncan, DWC Volunteer – St. Edmund Campion

Gratitude and goodbyes

Day 4 – Final moments on the work site

Today was our last day on the work site and with our family’s in the community. We made great progress with both our irrigation gates and our latrine. More significant was the friendships that have grown of the past few days. The joy in our interactions was evident and goodbyes seemed to come to soon.

On our last stop in the community, we visited a primary school where English, Kindergarten, and computer and tablet classes were offered. When presenting our school supplies, the Principal, Teachers, and Students were clearly very grateful. We interacted with the students in their classrooms and we were all amazed and delighted with their positive attitude towards us and each other.

We then finished our day by revisiting Don Bosco School, (where we went to mass the previous evening) to offer school supplies. While there we learned more about their school and how they helped with vulnerable children all throughout Cambodia. We then watched the end of an exciting soccer game where we cheered on the teams with other students waving Canadian Flags.
Off to bed early as we prepare for our trip north to Siem Reap.
Duncan, DWC Volunteer – St. Edmund Campion

A New Hope

Day 5 – Exploring Initiatives
We arrived safely in Siem Reap and after checking in we made our way to an NGO called a New Hope. Part of their organization is a restaurant that trains youth and we enjoyed a wonderful lunch. We then had a tour of their facility and were all inspired by the great work they are doing in supporting the poor in Siem Reap. Educating and feeding students from very poor neighborhoods from Kindergarten to grade 12 and even providing scholarships for students to go to university.

We then donated school supplies to them (our third share). Thanks again to all who donated school supplies. The gratitude we received has been very memorable.

We then visited another NGO called Rehash Trash, an organization where local moms up-cycle plastic bags into a variety of goods to be sold in there store. A fantastic initiative that combines providing jobs for the marginalized and create much-needed eco-awareness in the community.

We finished the evening watching a dinner performance involving traditional Cambodian dance. It was beautiful and enjoyed by all.
Duncan, DWC Volunteer – St. Edmund

A Journey to Remember

Day 6 – Global Citizens of the Future
Today we visited the temples in Siem Reap including Angkor Wat. The temples were beautiful and we learned more about the rich History of the Khmer people.
After the temples we visited our final NGO, which hosts a land mine museum. There we met Bill who told us of the incredible work they are doing. Not only regarding land mine removal, but with Education and care for those affected by land mines. He was highly motivating to the students stating that they were the people that are being counted on to solve the land mine and other social justice issues around the globe.

We’ve had an incredible journey here this week and now everyone is excited to come home and share their stories.
Duncan, DWC Volunteer – St. Edmund Campion

Posted in on December 11, 2017