So much more than I expected

I had been looking to do more volunteer work in my life and felt like this project might help me to jumpstart my plans. It turned out to be so much more than I expected. I felt like our guide, Dine, was truly invested in the community and helped us to feel part of the community. Each one of our projects was a "hands on" experience where we met with the local people. I felt like we were able to give back to the community, even in a small way. I could sense how geniunely thankful the community was to have us there just by their facial expressions. In particular, the wheelchair project and the well projects felt the most meaningful for me.

When I first looked at the itinerary, I was afraid there would be too much free time. However, I do believe this free time was needed to gather thoughts and energy. I was still exhausted (in a good way) by the end of each day. I felt like I had accomplished something each day. The food was good and there was plenty of it. I particularly liked the mango smoothies at the lunch restaurant :-). It was also nice to get to know the restaurant staff a bit.

I was SO glad we stayed at a modest yet friendly hotel. I would have been so disappointed if we stayed at one of the giant 5 star places they are building. It wouldn't have felt like Cambodia.

By far, the best part of this trip was having Dine as our guide. It was so nice to have a local person who was so dedicated to the project. He could answer any question we had about the culture and introduce us to the people and the culture in a natural way. Dine's dedication to his community humbled me in a way I never expected. He worked nonstop all day helping us to help his community (...). Dine's energy, optimism, and spirit were unstoppable. My favorite part of the trip was the well project. This surprised me because it was actually the part of the trip I was least looking forward to. It was an amazing opportunity to meet with people from the local community. It was so meaningful to be able to help provide water for them. I would like to go back and help to build more wells and teach the children from this community English. The community seemed to truly need the assistance. Also, I did feel like the wheelchair project was incredibly important. It made me feel so humbled when other people in the hospital were asking us to come back with more wheelchairs for them. It was so difficult not to have one for everyone.

When I signed up for this project, I knew that I was looking for something but I wasn't sure that it was. I not only found what I was looking for but found so much more. My only fear is that I will let the passion I felt during that week die. I hope I can keep enough balance in my life to continue what Globe Aware helped me to start. Thank you! - Volunteer, March 2012

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