Grade 11 Build in Cambodia
Exploring the great sites and experiences of Cambodia
Today our students woke up and continued their usual morning routine, enjoying a great breakfast provided by the Royal Crown Hotel. The breakfast included a great variety of foods such as sausages, bacon, and the favorite of the group, pancakes. After breakfast, they began their adventure for the day and rode Tuk Tuks to the most famous and largest ancient temple complex, Angkor Wat. When they arrived they explored the great views of the temple, enjoyed learning a bit about its history and took in the experience of such a monumental site. In between their tour, our students enjoyed ice cold beverages from the cafe in order to stay cool from the heat. As part of their experience, students also were assigned their own bikes in order to travel from one temple to another in certain sections. From there, students were given the time to freely explore. Once the students regrouped they went to the next and final temple which was used for filming the hit movie Tomb Raider. After experiencing the temples, the group rode their bikes to a local restaurant for lunch where they had some of their favorite Cambodian cuisines.
From there, our students returned to the hotel for a nice quiet dinner. Some chose to go to a New Zealand burger place and others went to a more formal place to eat. After dinner, they met back at the hotel to prepare to go to the circus. The circus was not what they were expecting. Instead of highlighting animal performances, instead, they enjoyed performances by professional men and women who accomplished feats such as acrobatic tricks and flips to entertain the crowd. The lights and sound around the stage truly set the mood of the performers. The performers really livened the crowd with their actions and were always involved even if they weren't the main part of the performance. Each performer brought their character to life with their own set of personality to the stage. After a very entertaining show, our group returned to the hotel relax and to prepare to come home.
Day 4- A heartfelt and active day
Today, our students returned to the project site to present the family with a special gift, their very own home starter kit, which they all donated funds towards. After the presentation, our students were invited to participate in a unique local ceremony. This ceremony was performed in order to bring good omen and luck to their home.
Afterward, they visited the VBC community center, which is where children from families supported by the NGO go to school. In addition, many local adults are given vocational training here as well. They visited classrooms and interacted with the students and teachers. They learned that over 190 students attend the school. Many of the school's teachers also informed them how VBC's school teaches English, which is often vital when it comes to finding jobs in the city, especially since government schools do not offer English classes. They also learned that many of the teachers at the school were once students there themselves since finding teachers in the country is very difficult. The reason for the lack of teachers can be seen in their history where decades ago, the communist regime of Khmer Rouge, considered civilians that were educated, including professionals such as teachers, were to be executed in an effort to "reshape" Cambodia's identity and create the ideal communist society. It was a very heartfelt morning.
In the afternoon, the students engaged in some action and adventure. They were split into five different groups for a scavenger hunt in the local town center/market. Each team was given 20 different tasks ranging from ones that required them to ask locals to translate words from Khmer to English, to ones that asked them to find out the prices of certain items or where to locate them. The students had a fun time working together in competing against one another but most importantly created bonds and memories that they will take with them.
Day 3- A productive and creative day
Students continued their tasks from the day before, working with the local team to complete the construction project. Students were able to build on their novice skill levels in construction as they collaborated and cooperated together as a team. The project continued to provide challenges for the students, but they took them in stride and were able to produce a home in which they took great pride in. After a successful morning, students then engaged in another form of construction, learning pottery. Students worked to create their own pieces of artwork, which they took home for themselves. All in all a very productive and creative day.
Day 2 - Building a home and experiencing local Cambodian cuisine
After a restful evening, students began the day off early with a 6:30 AM breakfast. They were excited to get to the work site and begin the hard work of building a house. Upon arrival, students and teachers were informed not only about the project but more importantly about the family whose home they were helping to build. This brought context and purpose for the project and created more resolve for the students to come together for a cause greater than themselves.
Our students were working together to help a family of five. Their oldest son lacks the opportunity for an education due to the loss of their home. Building this home would bring hope to the family in providing the education their son needs. After the briefing, students went right to work sawing, hammering, holding frames together and even playing with the local children. Although some tasks proved harder than they expected, our G11 students showed resilience and powered through to complete as much of the task as possible.
We wanted to get to the countryside as soon as possible in order to start building the house.
With the morning behind them and a home near completion, our students took time to rest for lunch and prepare for their next adventure. This would come in the form of cooking. Students were introduced to a local chef who took them on a tour of the food market so they could see the ingredients they would be using in their dishes. Our students were able to experience the sights, sound and smell of the local market. After an insightful tour, the students returned to the kitchen to learn the basics of what they would need to know to make their dishes. On the menu were fresh spring rolls as starters, khmer fish amok for the main dish, and fired bananas for dessert. The students dove right in and were quite pleased with the results.
Day 1 - Landing in Cambodia
The Grade 11 students embarked on their 2018 school trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Our students will be providing reflections, insights, and updates on their experience for each day.
This is Tae Seo reporting live from Cambodia. After meeting at school, we left on time for the airport. At the airport, everyone split off to their own ways to find something to eat. After a delicious Burger King or McDonald’s, everyone was ready for taking off. The flight was three hours long. Some sleeping, some eating, and some gaming the whole flight. The visa issue was not a problem at all, the security check was very fast. The bus from the airport took us to a nice Cambodian restaurant where we enjoyed the taste of local cuisine. The accommodations feel very comforting and they even provide free slippers! This is it for the day. It's a short and short smooth day. Everyone is looking forward to tomorrow, where we will start to build the house.
Check out our photos below and make sure to check in every day for more updates!