Archive by Author | leeanneshanks

Day 2 – Isaac

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.

DAY 1: Alex and Ryan

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 – Adam and Paul

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.

Almost there

Hi everyone


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.

Last minute update

Hi everyone


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


Basic Itinerary

St Stephen’s 2018

Gastro Kit

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.


Sleep out

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.




Hi everyone


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.

Last Visa’s Needed



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.


Can you believe it is less than three weeks away.

Visa – Urgent Request


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  RAW impact need these very urgently and I would appreciate having them immediately (or an email when we can expect them)


Thanks everyone.

Suggested packing list

Conservative clothes


Students will be expected to wear their RAW shirts to the airport and on site. This means that going out clothes will be required for evening meals and travel days.  The last few days in Siem Reap will be free dress but still conservative.  Students will be allowed to shop at the Russian markets in Penohm Penh and students brought baggy pants and some t-shirts.  Keep this in mind when you are packing. You may want a nice pair of shoes, trainers or flip flops to wear out at night.

Water – use the bottled water to brush your teeth.

Toiletries – make sure that you have all the basics but wearing make up on site is a bit silly because it sweats off.  Boys and girls – deodorant is a must.  You also can take little bottles to save on weight.  Hairdryers – they have them at the hotel.


Washing liquid or soap – avoid bringing powder.

Gastro kit – ask your doctor (but we do have a lot of first aid equipment).  Also include bandaids and hand cleanser.  I didn’t get sick at all because I used the hand cleanser a lot.  I was also on the year nine party puke bus a few years ago and I did not get sick even though a student through up on my hand (accidentally). Where we eat is good but excellent hygiene is the best way to cope in a third world country.

Food – you can go to a deli or corner shop near the hotel to get extra food if required and I will be taking some breakfast bars.  The lunch is divine and you will miss it when you come home.

On site clothes 

Shoes – sturdy with a good sole (can be trainers or boots or work boots). Remember – you can leave them on our last building day but you don’t have to. I would not recommend you wear your expensive trainers here as the dust gets into them

Socks – white is a disaster – the sand in the Phnom Pehn is red and then you get sweaty and yucky.  I would suggest cheap black socks from Target or Coles.

HAT – the school hat is actually really good but anything with a brim would work

Shorts or leggings – you bend over, make sure they are long enough and you are comfortable. Bring a few pairs but don’t go overboard.

Underwear – don’t forget it

Work or gardening gloves.  I Forgot to mention this last night.  PLEASE get a few pairs of gloves.  They have work gloves that would only fit Mr Taylor and they are all yucky and sandy inside.  At our first site we work with bamboo and you get splinters.  I already have my gloves and will be taking along a spare pair.


If I think of any other information I will add it over the next week or two but these should cover the basics.



Summary of Parent Evening Information.

Fundraising – can all money please be in the Everyday Hero account by next Monday, to ensure that we can allocate any group funds that we still have.

Thank you everyone who gave Mrs Libbis the $20 for our extra shirt last night. These will be handed out at the Cambodian Dinner this Thursday.  If you were not aware that you had to bring $20 or did not have it on you, please just give it to her at the dinner.  If you will not be at the dinner, we will need it before the end of term.  If you are at Duncraig -it is easy, just give it to Mrs Libbis.  If you are at Carramar – can you please give it to Mr Taylor and email Mrs Libbis to say that he has your money. Thanks.

Mr Taylor requires an email that confirms your immunisation. Please ensure that he has this email (

Evisas – please see below if you need to know how to get a evisa. Once you have it, please email it to me (  I will respond with a thank you.  If you do not get that response, please check the spelling of my name.

Please see below to join the facebook page.

Flight details are below but we would expect people to be at the airport at between 4am and 4.20am.

Emergency phone numbers will be posted on this blog when we hit the ground. We will buy simm cards and place the numbers up immediately. All hotels have wi-fi and with the exception of our driving time, all students have access to wi-fi.

Students will have access to excellent, ‘Western’ healthcare through our access to SOS.  They can also provide us with an emergency evacuation from a country should that be necessary (answer to a parent question).

Students will also have training on the tools and there is a lot of supervision on the site.