Cambodia 2017

Dear Mr Turner 

Cambodia Summer 2017!

After the safe return of Kirsty and your students, we would like to take this opportunity to give you a very brief overview of some of the highlights of their summer.

What a blast!  Through the sheer sweat (and sometimes) tears, your students have made a huge and lasting positive impact on the lives of many rural Cambodians. 

Your teachers and students have been involved in shovelling, mixing, moulding and turning out concrete ring after concrete ring, by hand. They have dug and squelched their way down into the Cambodian soil to provide impoverished local families with clean wells and drinking water, toilets and cess pits, which will massively impact on the health and hygiene for the local communities.

Not only have they worked hard at improving the lives of villagers, they have been digging and planting Mahogany and Teak saplings, in order to redress the huge illegal logging and deforestation issues that are rampant in Cambodia.  One team alone, planted over 250 trees and we had 14 teams in Cambodia this year. That’s potentially 3500 trees planted by our teams, just this year.

Interacting with the local children is always a highlight of all our expeditions, whether it be playing volleyball or football or sitting quietly, platting hair, singing songs and holding very animated ‘hand’ conversations with young Cambodians who are desperate to learn our language in order to improve their lives and future employment opportunities.

They have visited the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat Temple, Bayon Temple and Angkor Ta Prohm and ticked them off their bucket list. They’ve learnt about the proud Angkor history of a once truly great nation and then witnessed the cruelty and despair that was inflicted on these gentle people by the Khmer Rouge at the S21 Prison and the Killing Fields. An experience that few of them will ever forget. 

Being pushed to your limits and forced out of your comfort zone is not something we usually enjoy, but your students did both of these!  They slept on mattresses on bare boards, washed in cold water, shared their living spaces with mosquito’s, bugs, spiders and survived.  They have eaten enough rice and chicken to last them a lifetime and still came back for more.  They then participated in the trek over the Kulen Mountains, which saw them being pushed even further to their limits, but once again, they faced each day with determination and good spirits and took on every challenge given to them. We are so proud of them.

Living in or close to the local communities has enabled your students to really appreciate how tough daily life can be, but at the same time, how resilient and strong the human spirit is in order to overcome the adversities that life throws at us.  We hope they have learnt many lessons from this and will carry them in their hearts, to pull out, dust down and use whenever they may need them in the future.

From the deepest core of everything Camps International stand for, we would sincerely like to thank you, Whitehaven Academy, Kirsty and your students for their incredible hard work, dedication, joyous spirits and a whole bunch of great laughs and mind-blowing memories.

Kind regards

Julie Lax

Schools Support Coordinator

Camps International Group