Archive by Author | eleanor.glacken

Homeward bound

Dear parents,

We are currently waiting at Singapore Airport to board our final leg home. We have all had such an amazing time and the kids have been nothing short of exceptional. We plan to arrive at Perth at 11:55pm (another late one, sorry) and our flight number is SQ 215. Thank you for all you have done for preparing your kids for this experience – your love and support has really shone through in the manner in which they have conducted themselves over the past 10 days.

See you on the other side!

Miss Glacken, Mr Biddle, Mrs Kirby



Final day of planting

Today we went back to the bamboo farm to plant bamboo trees so that future RAW teams have materials to build a house.
It was super hot so everyone wasn’t looking forward to the day ahead, however Nick from Raw brought his speaker to pump us up with 70s rock as we worked, which was successful until the speaker died.
Our strongest player was Miss Glacken as she was so aggressive while digging her hole that she broke her hoe, which is pretty impressive seeing as it’s made with a metal head.
We were told that we had to name our trees and give them a pep talk to give them the best chance of survival. Mine and Lily’s personal favourite was Ellen and Ben’s choice of names, such as Beyoncé, Shakira, Freddie Mercury, Celine Dion, and Fergie.
Once again lunch was incredible. The ladies who kindly made it for us treated us to curry, fried rice, fruit and chips, which went down well with everyone.
Again one of the most stressful times of the day was seeing which flavour of royal D we would get. We’re happy to report it was orange today and not grape.
After lunch, we continued to plant bamboo. We finished early and started to mulch which was more of a challenge, not because of the physical work but because of the rashes we got from the hay.
In total, our days work meant that we planted a whopping number of 130 bamboo trees. It didn’t feel like we’d made much impact but in 3 or 5 years the bamboo will have grown to provide enough for two more houses, as well as a sustainable income for the locals in Koki.
Before dinner we all reflected on our favourite parts of the trip, majority saying theirs was the sleep out and the building process.
After dinner we played Miss Glacken’s card game Chameleon which was enjoyable.
For Lily and myself the highlight of our day was went when we went to Lily and Chloe’s room to watch a movie. However the tv guide was wrong so we ended up scrolling through the channels. At one point we found chicken fighting, a kids channel with a monkey called Robby, and a dramatic soap opera in Cambodian. It was such a laugh, so much, in fact, Daniel literally cried of laughter. It felt so nice just to be able to have a laugh as a group of mates.
By Meg & Lily

Planting Bamboo: Day 1

Today we had our first official day in Kratie where we helped out at RAW’s bamboo plantation. We had the usual early wake up to leave our hotel at 7:30am. Following a 30 minute drive, we arrived at the plantation where we were introduced to Passet, the head of Sustain, RAW. Passet taught us how to mulch the bamboo, then plant bamboo. Lunch was supplied by the locals with the meal including rice, curry, chips and veggies. After a long and tiring day at the plantation, we left at 2:00pm. Upon arrival at the hotel, we had a quick ten minute break to drop off bags, before going on a bike ride around a local village. The ride followed the Mekong River and was very scenic. Once the ride was over, we were treated with a soft drink and had some down time before going out to dinner for Pizza.

By Bella, Ben, Ellen and Chloe

Technical difficulties

Apologies for the delay in blog posts – we were experiencing technical difficulties but all is well now!

If you are not already a member and would like to see some photos and videos of what we have been up to over the past few days, head over to the RAW Impact St Stephen’s 2020 Facebook page 🙂

Travelling from Phnom Penh to Kratie

Most of us woke up around 5:30 when the kids and fathers in our family got ready for school and work. We got up to watch the sunrise at around 5:45 and it rose around 6:00. We then had to pack away our things and return the mats, mozzie nets and sarongs. After saying goodbye to the kids and families (which was hard because we were all very sad to leave them) we each got given $5 to spend when we went for breakfast. We then drove back towards the city centre to eat at Brown’s Coffee. Most of us got a drink and a pastry and we were all surprised how much we could get for under $5. We then got back in the bus and started our four-hour bus ride to lunch. Lunch was at a riverside pizzeria called Lazy Mekong Daze. The pizza was delicious and we all happily stuffed ourselves. From there we recommenced our trip to our final destination – the Mekong Dolphin hotel. We all settled into our rooms, had showers or did some washing and then head out to Le Tonle for a buffet-style dinner. After dinner, we went for a short night walk along the Mekong river where we saw the local khmer people dancing and enjoying the night. We then came back to the hotel and got ready for bed preparing for the next day.
By Kaiya and Abbey

Day 5: Handover & Sleep out

Today was the last day of building and as we arrived back on site we leapt straight back into our tasks. Now that the floor was complete, many of us worked on the lower level. We poured cement in the foundations and created a day bed while others finished work on the roof. Then it was it: the moment of truth. Sonya called us over to the berms to get a good view and we watched anxiously as the roof was hoisted onto its beams.
We were watching all our hard work come together into one physical creation- it was nerve-wracking and it was spectacular.
Then it was the handover to the family we had been working with. They had a chance to thank us for our work and we had a chance to thank them and the builders for their hard work too. This was the part many of us had been most looking forward to and represented the end of our work in the village. However, our time there was not over and we were quickly divided into groups to prepare for our sleep out. As groups of 3 or 4 we were handed just $2 US with which to buy the ingredients for a family dinner.
At the markets we gathered vegetables, not knowing how many people in our families we had to feed, nor how far $2 would take us. We also had to keep in mind that our rice would cost us around 13c of that money, supplied by the teachers. As it turned out, the food was extremely cheap with most of us sparing just under a dollar. We then returned to the huts and the families somehow made a delicious meal with the random mixture of vegetables we had managed to pick up.
We ended the night dancing with the children and celebrating our achievements before settling down to our bamboo matts and mosquito net beds.
By Charlotte & Will A

Day 4

Today was a busy day, filled with work and the third of our four days on the EPM site. Even though lots of us were tired, we pushed trough and got to work.
When we arrived, we got straight into our jobs. The team building the floor were fast to finish their project before lunch so we could raise and install the floor onto the support posts. It was a great team effort from the floor builders as well as the rest of the team as we came together to raise the floor as one. The roof team then finished the last parts of the structure and put on half of the metal sheets. They also started adding the outer bamboo covering of the roof, almost ready for installation tomorrow. The toilet block is over half way complete and we are hoping to continue at the same pace so we are ready for the plumbing. The wall team have completed all the walls, finishing the fourth wall today and helping out the rest of the crew with their jobs.
Tomorrow is our final day on site and it’s the last big push to get as much as possible done for the hand over to the delighted family.
Tonight we packed our bags up, ready for the sleep-out tomorrow night and travel the next day.
By Kai & Sidney

Day 3: Back to the tools

Today we woke up at 630 and made our way down to a buffet breakfast of fresh fruit, omelette, toast and an assortment of other foods. At 730 we departed the hotel once again and made our way across the river to Ta Skor Village.
As soon as we arrived, our work began. We separated into our teams and began working on our individual parts of the project. With frequent breaks, we soon reached lunch time, where a local family made us all a delicious lunch before we once again picked up the tools and continued work.
By 2 o’clock each team had completed their daily goal. With 3 out of 4 walls completed, a few slats to nail on the floor, the frame of the roof finished, the toilet block over halfway built and all 4 structure poles completed, the build is off to a good start.
We made our way back to the hotel where we had a few hours to get cleaned up and relax.
At 6 o’clock we hit the streets again on the tuk tuks, who navigated their way through the heavy traffic to the riverfront. Having arrived at the river, we boarded a boat for a river cruise, where we were served noodles and dumplings for dinner. After a fun night on the river, we headed back to the hotel on the tuk tuks and began to get ready for bed.
Erryn, Emma & Will B

Day 2: First day of the build!

Our day started at 7am, with the same delicious buffet breakfast as yesterday. We then moved into our briefing, where Sonya gave us a run-down of what the day would entail. She told us how to interact with the children, protocols for building and the journey to the site at Ta Skor village. When we crossed the river, we drove past the slums and were shocked by the stark contrast between the developed, modern skyscrapers on the other side of the river and the houses that were practically falling apart here. While we drove, we saw other RAW projects, namely iBlock – the first houses built by the RAW teams. When we arrived at Phase 2 (the new building site we would be building on), we met Pete and Li (the foremen), the Khmer builders and the family we would be building the house for. The family would be helping us to build their house and a community toilet block. We were then divided into five groups, each led by a Khmer builder, many of whom are the fathers of families living in previously built RAW houses. The groups were; the roof, the walls, the floor, the house posts and door and the toilet block. At first, it was tough to communicate with our build leaders, as many of them spoke no English but were still trying to show us what to do. It got easier as we moved through the day and as we traded a few English words with our builders, they taught us Khmer in turn. We soon got the hang of our tools and building projects. For lunch, we walked over to Phase 1 (RAW’s complete section of 20 houses) and ate a delicious buffet of Cambodian food prepared by the mothers in the houses. It was all amazing and tasted better knowing that it came from a place of love from the families we were working with. We were then met with the kids of the village who were always smiling and laughing and couldn’t wait to play with us. After another afternoon stint of building, we returned to our hotel to wash off all the dirt and sweat from the day!

By Jess and Sophie


Day 1: Cultural Day

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