Kayleigh Staples one of our School Expedition Co-ordinators left chilly UK to travel with a lead teacher to Cambodia over half term. We asked her for a record of her trip, just to make sure she remembered everything and here is her blog. After a coach, two long flights with my new teacher friend Steve and a car journey we (at last) arrived in Siem Reap. The week long trip was jam-packed to say the least and I still cannot believe how much we managed to cram in! Siem Reap is an incredible town full of rickshaws, bars, restaurants and night markets (foot massage in the night market was incredible and perfect after a long flight!) We spent time on the tourist trail visiting lots of temples including Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom which where steeped in ancient history which our local guide kindly explained to us on the way round. The highlight of the week for me was without doubt the jungle trek. We spent around 4 hours trekking through the Kuelen National park, stopping off on the way at temples and saw some amazing sights. We had lunch in a village hidden away in the national park and finished the day perfectly by going to visit the waterfalls. This was without doubt the best sight I saw whilst over there, especially the moment a rainbow appeared in the waterfall, beautiful!åÊ
Next stop was Camp Beng Meala! We got acquainted with the gap year students out there at the moment over some lunch cooked beautifully by the camps staff. I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how nice/clean/welcoming the camp was! Bunlay and Rory gave us the grand tour and talked us through how the compost toilets work (very interesting). We where then swept over to the local primary school that Camps are currently working on and I think we where all shocked to see the sorry state that the classrooms where in. There where giant holes in the roof, bare walls and minimum light coming in. We where then made aware of the current kitchen facilities which where so much worse. On a more positive note the work that the students have been getting along with looks great, they are part way through building a new temporary classroom and a new kitchen, which is great. However progress is slow due to not really having enough ÛÏbodiesÛ to do the work, which is a terrible shame as there is so much that needs improving. åÊWe headed down to Phnom Penn towards the end of the week to do some more touristy stuff. We where taken for a guided tour around the killing fields and S21 prison aka ÛÒ torture chambers. It was shocking to find out the extent of torture and murder that went on in Cambodia only 30 years ago and fascinating to learn about the history of it all, as it is so recent.
All in all I would go as far to say that it was a life changing week, it has truly opened my eyes to a country full of wonderful people that is still on its knees from a devastating regime that ruined the country not so long ago. The Cambodian people are so warm and welcoming and I would love to go back! Massive thanks to Bunlay and Rory for taking care of us and showing us just how inspiring Cambodia and its people are! Steve is now looking forward to his school expedition in 2013. If you want to know more about our school expeditions to Cambodia then why not give me a call on 01425485390
Over and out.