On day two we experienced the aftermath of Pol Pot’s tyrannical reign over Cambodia. The first instance where we saw this was at S21. The site was originally a high school – converted into a torture facility, where people of all ages and backgrounds were taken. What we learnt at S21 was very confronting because we were made aware of how twisted Cambodia’s history is. From this we were able to piece together the reasons for the issues in Cambodia today. S21 made us feel frustrated with how evil in the world comes to power again and again, and so many lives are affected negativity as a result. The killing fields reinforced these emotions, whilst being somewhat more peaceful than S21, as S21 was a place of inescapable pain whereas the killing fields was where that pain was taken away.
We also visited the RAW office and got a look inside the mind of Troy, and his plans for the future of Cambodian life. Hearing about his ideas was an inspiration to all of us.
We also went to ‘She’ and our eyes were opened to the sadistic world of child trafficking and pedophilia within Cambodia. ‘She’ offers help to the victims of these horrific crimes by regaining their childhood before re-establishing them into their independence to live freely in the adult world.
All in all, day two was an overwhelming experience that gave us a new perspective on the world.
Waking up before the sun, excited and somewhat apprehensive of the things which lay before us in the few days to come. As our loving family drove us to the airport to wish us on our way we pondered the events to come, will I like the people? Will I have fun? And perhaps most importantly who will I become after this tour has ended? We checked in our bags and kissed our family goodbye then hopped on the plane for a 6 hour flight to Singapore. We used this time to catch up on missed sleep and bond with the people we were sitting next to. We landed at the enormous Singapore airport with a four hour wait ahead of us. The airport was vibrant and bustling with multiple different gardens and stalls to catch our attentions. The time went by quickly as we began to learn who it was we were going to be spending the next week and a bit of our lives with. Everyone got along immensely well and before we knew it it was time for our next flight, a short 50 minute hop over to Phnom Penh. We piled into tuk tuk’s and engaged in our first experience of Cambodia’s wild roads, thankfully no one crashed but there were a few close calls! We arrived at the hotel in relatively one piece and crashed straight into bed, tired but excitedly anticipating tomorrow.
Day 3 – Blog
Adam & Paul
Day 3 was the first day on site. We met the RAW Crew at 8, and left for the work site by 9. We were originally told we were going to be finishing a house for a family, turns out we had to dig 8 massive holes instead. It caught us all a little by surprise, but we happily got in, and gave it a crack.
15 minutes flew by, the holes were progressing quickly and some of us were already onto their third bottle of water. It was hot. Very hot. Obstacles presented themselves in the forms of tree roots and concrete, we hit them pretty early and it took a lot off hard work to shift the holes to dig around the concrete and unearth the roots.
About an hour in, the 8 holes were relatively deep, and our backs were very sore, the scale of the project quickly becoming apparent. If you weren’t busy digging holes or cutting wood, there was always a kid or two to entertain, running around chaotically, a beaming smile ever present on their faces.
The hard work made us pretty hungry, and lunch did not disappoint. Traditional Cambodian food was prepared, which was readily snapped up by the 25+ hungry bellies. The food consisted of, Rice, Fried rice, a lovely vegetarian curry #notyourmumnotyourmilk, some fried noodles, an assortment of fried vegetables, plenty of local fruit and a bag of hydralyte, to replenish all of the electrolytes we had sweated out. After lunch the work was very similar but the extra heat of the afternoon added an additional challenge. After our first big day of work, most of us participated in a water aerobics class lead by our very own Callum Smith in the hotel pool. Participants included Mr Taylor.
The water aerobics helped loosen our tense, dehydrated bodies, and gave us a good chuckle throughout. Definitely a future career option for the multitalented wedding photographer.
We cleaned up and went to a local diner and once again enjoyed the asian cuisine presented to thy hungry mouths. We hit the bed hard, tired but eagerly awaiting tomorrow.
Sues a day!
Yesterday we arrived in Kratie Province to work in Ko ki village. We have had an amazing few days and we are all very proud of our students and the way they are immersing themselves into every task. It has been hot, sweaty, dirty and good old fashioned hard work! We travelled for over 6 hours yesterday through such interesting countryside, many bumps and some very wonky bridges-. Students are working on blog items to post over the next few days with their experiences and I am sure you have been keeping up to date via Facebook and Snapchat.
My emergency number here is +61478994307.
Enjoys these photos- I am having a little trouble getting the photos to load from my phone- better go get some of these tech savvy kids out of bed.
All is going extremely well! Be proud of your children😀
Looking forward to seeing you at the airport.
If you have printed your visa – that’s great. If you haven’t – I have printed one for you. Make sure you take a picture of your visa and your passport and email it to yourself. We all have copies of your paperwork; however, it is a great habit to get into. If your passport is stolen then you will always have a copy.
Clothes – please remember to pack conservative clothes. No stomach, thighs, buts, boobs please. We don’t need you to dress like nuns but we do need conservative. It was a joy last year to not have to discuss clothing with any of our girls – hoping it will be another year of not having to discuss or tell people to change their clothes before we go out.
If you have any queries – I will check my email again at around half seven (hoping to get an early night) and then again at three when I get up. Can’t wait to get this show finally on the road.
Thanks for the lovely hot chocolate today. It promoted a few thoughts and ideas and I have summarised them here for you.
Flights (reminder – be there at 4am on the 6th Jan)
6 January Singapore Airlines SQ224 Perth- Singapore 0640 (arrival 11.55)
6 January Silkair MI 608 Singapore – Phnom Penh 1630 (arrive 5.25)
17 January Silkaire MI 636 Siem Reap – Singapore 1825
18 January Singapore Airlines SQ 225 Singapore – Perth 0010
I looked up the terminal on line. It is terminal 1. However, please check in case there have been changes and contact a fellow student if you are going to be late or are a little worried about where to go.
I do not know the other two hotels but our first hotel is The Frangipani Living Arts Hotel
I have been asked about the ‘gastro kit’. There is no such thing as a gastro kit; however, if you go to a pharmacy or your doctor and ask for items that can help with gastro (hydrolytes, pills you can take before you eat etc etc) you can make your own kit. Please see a doctor or a pharmacist to make an educated decision (if you feel you want to take a personalised kit)
Adaptor and power board
Last year RAW impact picked us up adaptors for a really cheap price (20cents). I am going to email them today to ask them to purchase some more for us. You can also get them at the Russian markets very cheaply. I would also recommend bringing a power board because you have two people per room and once you factor in mobile phones, apple watches, speakers etc, a power board is a very handy thing.
As we know, US Dollars are used in Cambodia. I was asked today about the travel cards. They would be fantastic; however, I would still recommend having some small US denotations. I personally made the decision to have nothing over a ten dollar note and I have lots of fives and ones. If you go to a deli to get a can of coke and you have a US $20 note, then you will get all the change back in Cambodian money. Please remember – this is a suggestion and you can choose to take what every you would like.
When we go to the village to sleep out – we need to keep it light. It is a good idea to have a small travel pillow and I found that I was – surprisingly – cold. If you do get a little chilly, a long sleeved shirt, thick socks and a light beenie might help. However, we are sleeping in a village house and taking a lot of stuff is not a good idea.
Don’t forget to practice the basics. This is a great little video even though it is a home video. We used the informal version and you will be thrilled to have this basic info. I used all the words she teaches you in this video.
I have also included a video on the market as we will go shopping. I think phrases like – how much is this, I would like to buy etc would be very helpful.
3 sleeps to go! Just a reminder that we are having a casual catch up today at Max Brenners ‘s Chocolate Shop in Joondalup at 11am. This will just be for some final questions and to share the excitement before we meet again at the airport in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
Looking forward to seeing you all there, if you can’t make it feel free to email us or text me on 0417 704 944.
Mrs Libbis & Ms Shanks
Can you believe that we will be in Cambodia in one week. I am sure that we are all getting very excited. Please send you thoughts to Skye. She has hurt her knee and will not be going on the tour (but I hope she comes to Joondalup on the 3rd)
Scroll through the blog and double check if there is any advice you have missed and you have logged on to the Facebook page and there is nothing left for you to do.
I went to Big W the other day and brought mens shorts ($10 for black shorts). Boys shorts have pockets with zips and velcro – something most girl shorts don’t have. This is a very good idea if you want to take your phone with you on site. You don’t need to go out and buy new clothes but it is a good idea to not take clothes that cost too much money. The dust is very red and you sweat like crazy. Remember – white socks are not a great idea and you will need gardening gloves to protect your hands while we are working with bamboo and timber. You also need good solid shoes while on site. Trainers are good but don’t take your best shoes. Mine still have a light red ting to them. You also need a hat. The school hat was fantastic last year and is highly recommended.
Big congratulations to all the students at the barbecue. We heard you did an amazing job. Am looking forward to seeing you all on the 3rd Jan for hot chocolate.
Have a safe New Years and see you at Joondalup or at the airport. Either way – still keep an eye on the blog and facebook page in case Mr Taylor or myself think of anything else we can suggest before we leave.
I am still waiting on Nikolaj Sentow, Imogen Resta and Mr Taylor’s visas.
If I don’t get them today, I will need to call you at home tomorrow. Please email them to me today. Thank you. Leeanne.firstname.lastname@example.org
Can you believe it is less than three weeks away.
A lot of wonderful people sent me their application receipt. This will not get us into Cambodia. I need people to send me their visas (will have a picture on a document that you opened).
Can you please urgently check your emails (or get your parents to check their emails) and send your visa to Leeanne.email@example.com RAW impact need these very urgently and I would appreciate having them immediately (or an email when we can expect them)