Our Last Days

Nearing the end of our final days of this breathtaking experience, it’s sad to think that we’ll soon be saying goodbye to a country that has taught us the importance of hope, people that have taught us the importance of simplicity and an immersion that has taught us the importance of compassion. Whilst these past two days have yet again opened our eyes to the hardships many face, it has also been a fun and rewarding service. We started off our third day in Siem Reap with a two hour bus drive to a little village up north. Here we were to build three toilet blocks for three local families. After arriving at our destination, we began work straight away. In order to build these toilet blocks, we were each taught how to mix, layer and pile bricks and concrete – a concept harder than anticipated. Safe to say while we may not leave Cambodia with the burning desire to become master builders, we concluded the seven hour long day happy with the efforts we made. We left the village and travelled back to another Fancy Guest House, quickly enjoying a shower before heading out to a buffet dinner. Once we finished dinner, we drove to the boarder of Cambodia/Thailand, taking a snap to show you all at home. However, it was back to Fancy 2.0 we went and to our beds for good nights sleep.

The next morning we enjoyed a traditional Khmer breakfast before driving to the village for another day of building. By lunch time we all finished work, proud of what we had done over the past two days for these three families. Although we loved helping build toilet blocks, what the most rewarding part for us was, was the smile on the faces of both the children and their parents when we gifted them our own shoes. Overall they were beyond grateful for our donations, enforcing our own thanks for the values and teachings this trip has taught each and every one of us. We said our goodbyes and journeyed back to the Reflection Centre.

Tonight is our last night in Cambodia, so as a farewell we are watching a traditional Cambodian dance. Personally, I cannot summarise the past week and a half, for it has shown me things that are indescribable. I have no doubt in saying that all of us will forever look at ourselves and the world differently as a result of this immersion, so to all who made sure we got here, thank you.

From our little family to everyone’s back at home❤️❤️GG

Siem Reap

This entry covers the past two days where we journeyed from Phenom Penh to Siem Reap. After breakfast we departed from our home sweet home for the past few days, Fancy Guest House. From here we went to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. It was interesting the vast difference from the streets to the wealth of the city. We then drove 2 hours to the spider town where we enjoyed having live tarantulas crawl on our faces and hair. After another 2 hours we stopped for lunch at a nice creek side restaurant where we were eating 100 metres away from the water buffalos. We finished the journey with another 2 hour bus rider to the reflection centre. After an exhausting day we attended a relaxing and interesting mass service with sister Denise and a special appearance  from some catholic rats. We had another great dinner at a restaurant apart of the friends chain. Then to bed we went.

We all woke up bright and early for an amazing breakky hosted by sister and co. After meeting our tour guide ‘Peaches’ ( meow ) we went on a tour around Siem Reaps most famous temples, including Ankor Wat. The architecture of the interior and exterior was breathtaking as was the monkeys. Who stole Kaitlyn and my water bottle. After this we went to get blessed by a Buddhist monk and then went to the markets. Money was spent until wallets were dry. Cambodia has been an amazing experiences  so far and the bond between all of us is becoming stronger and stronger everyday. We are excited for the rest of the adventures to come our way. Love and peace from Lara and Josie ❤️👍

Last day at Lavalla

Today was our last day at Lavalla. After finishing the gardening we taught our last lessons and attended an assembly where the kids performed songs, stories and presented us with gifts which we will cherish forever. After having the privilege of getting to know the kids for the past week our goodbye was filled with plenty of tears. Our time spent at Lavalla was an extremely humbling  eye opening experience which will forever be in our hearts. After saying goodbye to the amazing students, we spent our last night at Phnom Penh at the Friends restaurant for dinner where we got to have another taste of Cambodian cuisine. Tomorrow we say goodbye to Phnom Penh and embark on our 6 hour bus ride to Siem Reap. Love Lara and Ella ❤️❤️❤️

Tabitha and Lavalla

We started off the day with our buffet breakfast across the street from Fancy Guesthouse and after a 20 minute drive on the bus we arrived at Tabitha. Tabitha handcraft is a foundation providing women with aids and living in poverty with a steady paid job and healthcare, where these women create handmade silk products. This foundation also assist families living in poverty across Cambodia potentially eradicating it by 2030. We walked around the factory meeting all the hard working women later buying half the shop full of their amazing work. We bought bags, bracelets, earrings, ties, cases and much more. We then headed back to Lavalla school where we continued teaching 3 classes and played with the children after their lunch. After we packed up and headed to an amazing romantic river cruise down the Tonle Sap. Finishing off the day with dinner on a floating restaurant. Day 5 in Cambodia was amazing and an unforgettable experience.

Calypso and Grace 🥳

Day 5 & Day 6

On Wednesday, we continued our program by moving between classes and providing support to teachers and students as required. This morning, we facilitated the Nano Nagle Treasure Hunt for students in Years 2 and 3. For the reminder of the school day, we    were back in classes. This afternoon, we travelled to Cherbourg for a tour of the Ration Shed. We were honoured that Uncle Eric and Aunty Shirley were available to spend this time with us and to explain the history of Cherbourg. We also visited the Boys from Barambah exhibition that documents the stories of the Aboriginal men of Cherbourg who served in World War 1. Tomorrow morning, we will begin our journey home thankful for the experiences we have shared over the past week. The staff and students at St Joseph’s are amazing!