Today was an early start, checking out of our hotel at seven in the morning. We loaded up the vans and made the six hour ride to Siem Reap. It was a long and scenic ride through the depths of the Cambodian provinces. We entertained ourselves by playing cards and made the time pass by having restful sleeps (part of the time – due to disturbances e.g getting a recorder inserted into your mouth). We arrived at Siem Reap, unpacked and headed straight to Pub Street. Once there we were given twenty dollars to spend on dinner and lunch for the next day. While at Pub street we met some interesting characters such as a little girl with a tarantula, Nepi the scorpion seller and backpackers from around the globe. Our time was well spent eating delicious food including burgers and ice cream, bartering with shop owners to claim small souvenirs and dodging traffic as well as we could. Overall this day was a tiring one but definitely one to remember.
Jordan and Hilton.
Day 1: After a 45 minute drive from our hotel in Kratie we arrived in the isolated bamboo farm in Ko Ki. As we looked at the already planted trees we realised that this would be the hardest work we were going to do on the trip. Digging holes, filling it with manure and planting trees in the scorching sun left us all tired after a half day’s work. After a day in the bamboo farm we headed back to Kratie for some fun in the markets, buying the most useful, biggest, most traditional or the most products with the one dollar we were given.
Day 2: The now familiar drive, pumped with some music, meant we arrived at the farm in no time at all. We started off by weeding some of the older bamboo. After a delicious lunch we dug some more holes and planted more trees. In total we planted a total of 120 over the two days. Many hands made light work and it was a fantastic effort by all to finish off our days of service.
On Thursday night, after a long day of working at EMP, we came back to I block where we would be staying the night with our Khmer family. We were divided into groups of 4 and given $2 to purchase food for dinner at the local markets. We all had fun negotiating and communicating with the Khmer people. After the markets, each group was given the responsibility of either setting up the bedding for the night, which included mozzie nets and blankets, or helping the family prepare dinner. Some surprises along the way included glow sticks and fireworks from the Raw crew to celebrate the completion of the house and Olivia’s birthday, which the kids all loved eating her cake, a rare treat for them. Overall, the sleep out was an amazing and unique experience as we got to see first hand how the Khmer people live on a day to day basis.
Ash and Sascha.
Credit to Callum Smith for the amazing photography skills!
As the sun rose on Day 3, the rooster crow across the street already has most up at 4. After a delicious breakfast and the familiar, bumpy ride across river and road to get to EPM, the SSS Ninjas were ready to get stuck in. First order of business – the floor was lifted onto the supports. Everyone lent a hand (tallest member to shortest) and the floor was secure in no time. With walls and floors done, groups began work on the daybeds, shades and stairs. With the skeleton on the roof in place, tin sheets began to cover it (a shiny, slippery, sweaty job) and the toliet block was bricked to past the head of “short people” (Abi and Faye). We travelled to Iblock where we had another delicious lunch made by the locals and we all had a lot of fun playing with the kids. We love each other’s company and it’s getting harder and harder to say Li Hi (goodbye) each day! Day 3 was sweaty work but time went fast due to music pumping throughout the site! We were also accompanied by another tour group building House #12, so EPM felt busier than ever. With our last of four days at site tomorrow, we are all extremely motivated to finish the house.
We also caught a glipse of a slippery friend on our way home!
Abi K & Sophie
Today in Phnom Penh we had a packed day. In the morning, we went to the RAW Impact offices to learn about the project we are involved and the organisation we’re helping, meeting the founders Troy and Nic. After that, we visited another NGO known as She Rescue which works to rehabilitate victims of child slavery and prostitution. Some of the statistics we heard were really confronting as we were told stories of children as young as 5 were sold by their parents into the sex trade. After this, we visited S21, the genocide museum, a former school that was converted into a torture prison during the Khmer Rouge. Again, this was a shocking experience as we were exposed to many images of the victims and saw some of the survivors who had harrowing experiences to tell. After lunch, we caught a Tuk-Tuk from the city to the killing fields. Here we listened to an audio tour that took us around the grounds where many were slaughtered, hearing many confronting stories and seeing elements and remains that still exist today. As this was a lot to process, we had some time to relax and reflect on everything we heard and saw. To finish the day we ate our dinner on a boat cruising along the Mekong River. After a cultural day, we’re all ready to get some sleep before our first build day tomorrow.
Ami, Josie, and Liv
I hope you all had a lovely last week of school and are now really excited for our trip in January. Just a reminder that the final get together is 6:30pn tomorrow night at Tamarind restaurant in Mt Hawthorn (right across the road from the Paddington Alehouse on Scarborough Beach Rd). Please don’t stress if you can’t make it, this is purely a social catch up before we meet at the airport bleary-eyed on the 5th of January.
If you didn’t let Ms Libbis know at the parent information evening last Tuesday but would like to attend the dinner, can you please do so by COB today so that we can adjust the booking if necessary. The restaurant offers split billing so payment for meals will be easy to divide 🙂
If you have any queries, please contact one of us.
Hope to see you all tomorrow!
Mrs Libbis, Mr Biddle & Ms Glacken.