We started off our day with breakfast at 6:30. The omelettes were gourmet and well crafted. We congregated on the first floor at 7:30 to properly introduce ourselves to the RAW impact team, headed up by our tour leader, Sonya.
After initial greetings, we received our transport in the form of tuk tuks – an exciting way of getting around Cambodia. The drivers were friendly and kind. When we arrived, we were invited into the RAW Impact office. This is where we learnt the three main pillars of RAW; Sustain, Educate, Protect. We learnt about projects that we will be partaking in, being the bamboo farm and the construction of a house in phase two. After purchasing items from the RAW store, we then travelled in tuk tuks to She rescue.
She rescue is an organisation that helps with the protection of girls who are in danger of or experiencing sex trafficking or abuse. To protect them, the organisation offers a new home where they provide an education and teach the girls how to create an income through sewing and other projects.
After, we travelled to S-21 (school repurposed into prison during the Khmer Rouge and now a museum). This is where we learnt about what the prisoners went through who were accused of being CIA and KGB spies. Here we learnt what Pal Pot, (the leader of the regime) did to punish the prisoners there. Many people were captured and imprisoned, with evidence of their fate documented throughout the museum, a confronting sight.
After a stomach filling Cambodian lunch, we then travelled to one of the killing fields used by Khmer Rouge soldiers. This is where Pal Pot executed millions of innocent civilians and put them in mass graves. Through an audio-guided tour, we learnt about the horrific techniques used and consolidated our reason for coming on this tour.
After leaving the killing fields, the group had two hours to relax by the pool on the roof and process our day. After some good R&R, the group converged once more to discuss the history of Cambodia that we saw today and what this means for our work tomorrow. After processing and discussing this heavy topic with Sonya, we then went to a lovely dinner where we are now writing this post.
By Matthew, Daniel and Nic