When we came to Cambodia, we were a group of, frankly beautiful, young people who barely knew each other and the land we were venturing into. We emerged from Cambodia a group of sweaty hardened individuals, now bonded for life.
But really, if you discount the trek related panic and asthma attacks, dirt related parasitic infections, various throwing up and bowel movements, it genuinely has been an incredible journey none of us will ever forget.
Let’s start with the project work. We’re not going to lie to you, it was hard. However, to see the difference that it made, envisioning the change it would bring to the community made the hard work meaningful. The fact we got to teach, chat and play with adorable Cambodian children and receive surprisingly advanced flower garlands was the cherry on the cake. Overall we have completed building a house, taught children English, cultivated a vegetable and jungle garden for the education of the community, and completed a stage in the accommodation project to ensure teachers would stay for the long-run. Not bad for a group of unskilled, fairly useless teenagers who hadn’t hammered a nail in their lives.
The people who guided us through our work were absolutely fantastic human beings (Han and Sunny) and have brightened our time here immensely. Not only did they feed us (arkun Dalin & Dalan & Balin & Balan!!), guide us through the language barrier and be the happiest people we’ve ever met, they also became truly good friends whom we wanted to kidnap and take back to the UK with us.
In between project work, we ventured on a journey of self-discovery, swearing and sweat, The Trek! The first day was undoubtedly the hardest day of our lives. Physically, mentally and emotionally we were pushed to the very limit all the way up the mountain. To say we were out of our comfort zone is to say that the sun is merely warm. Looking back on it now, it was a true life achievement that will prepare us for the rest of our lives in understanding how far we can push ourselves. The rest of the trek consisted of exhilarating waterfalls, hidden temples, and being woken up at 4am by chanting Buddhist monks right next to our camp.
The remainder of the time here in Cambodia has been filled with Tomb Raider temples with too many faces, syncronised swearing on our first tuk-tuk rides, being deafened at night markets by Lady! Lady! One Dollar! Special Price Just For You!, spiders the size of our faces and selfies with monks.
Thanks to Daisy from team Suraya for the words and Lou for the pics.