Even though we were only there for a week, I feel like we accomplished a lot. All of the aid recipients seemed geniunely grateful for our time and efforts. I felt like we especially connected with the villagers in the countryside. As I look back, I feel like we helped people with some basic necessities of life, whether it was education, food, transportation, or clean water.
I liked having a set schedule and being provided an itinerary upon arrival. It showed me that our time would be put to good use, that there was plenty of work to be done, and provided structure while adjusting to a new country. That being said, I thought we had plenty of time to explore outside of the program. I thought the food was fantastic! Experiencing all of the local Khmer cuisine, even taking a cooking class, were some of the highlights of the trip. The accomodations were great, safe, affordable, great breakfast and outstanding service.
In the hustle of everyday life here in the US, it is easy to lose sight of what is going on in the outside world. A trip like this just shows you in detail the challenges faced by millions of people in less fortunate places. It shows how a little time, effort and money can go a long way to impact others. In general, the Khmer people we met were very friendly, the service everywhere was excellent, and I felt safe everywhere we went. I was very impressed with how well-behaved and attentive the kids were in class, as well as how interested they were in Western culture. I thought it was great that we had the ability to do so much hands-on work. I certainly would have never thought I would be chest-deep in a hole, digging a fresh water well in the Cambodian countryside! Our coordinator, Dine, was instrumental in helping us dig deep into the local culture. Work aside, we still had a lot of fun and got to see some great sights! Reflecting on the whole trip, it is impossible to not have an experience like that change how you view the priorities in your life.
The only thing I would do is continue to emphasize the heat and humidity in Cambodia. I think your materials already cover it, but continue to emphasize bringing light "dry-fit" type clothing during the warmest and wettest months.
I hope to get the opportunity to work with Globe Aware in another part of the world. Not only to have the ability to contribute to new projects, but also to see new places and experience new cultures. That being said, I still would like to continue to contribute to what Globe Aware and Dine are trying to accomplish in Cambodia.
Our program coordinator, Dine, really made the trip what it was. He is so deeply tied to the Siem Reap area and passionate about the projects, that it made it easy to jump into what we were doing. His energy was infectious. He showed us a lot that we clearly would never have found on our own and took us below the surface of the culture. In addition, we had a lot of fun and laughs! I look forward to working with Globe Aware in the future, but know that it would be tough for anyone to give us a better experience than what Dine provided. - Ky Cooksey, March 2012