Dutch-NetherlandsEnglish (United Kingdom)

Annika Tombleson

For four young travellers, our excitement and fascination was hard to contain when we first set foot in Phnom Penh. Despite a long plane trip and very few hours sleep, we couldn't help but explore the city before taking a rest. On our first day there, we ventured out on a boat trip which exposed us to the lives of the river people. Juxtaposed above this sea of boats, were grand mansions, exemplifying the diversity within Cambodia. This was our first sight of both the wealth and poverty that existed in this vibrant country. The markets we visited were bustling, singing with barterers and the smells were overwhelming. The experience was one which is unforgettable.

After a weekend of exploring we started volunteering at the farm. With little knowledge of what to expect, we jumped into a tuk tuk and travelled 40 minutes into the countryside. The children were so welcoming, and one couldn't help but to feel encapsulated by their vibrancy. This was the beginning of a highly enjoyable two weeks.
The farm itself was fascinating. The self sustainable systems in place were outstanding and have enabled the children to learn how to live their lives efficiently and also in an ecologically friendly manner. The Green House was a spectacle of its own. I never expected to see one here in Cambodia and it was no surprise that the workers took so much pride in their produce. We thoroughly enjoyed our day working in the garden even though the heat was exhausting.

The children were delightful. They were full of excitement and energy and their determination was heart warming. It is very unusual to find children these days that take so much pride in their education but the children here, showed an admirable determination to learn. I spoke no Khmer at all, but the children were patient with my attempts to teach English and were eager to participate. While teaching the beginner's class, there was a lot of laughter, and we played plenty of "heads, shoulders, knees and toes". The children of the senior class were eager to learn about the world and where I came from, so I would share with them stories of New Zealand and in return they would share with me information about their own country and culture. Along with these discussions it was heart warming to hear about the dreams and aspirations of these young students.

My favourite day at the orphanage was when we bought some paint and let the children create a giant mural on the side of a building. It started with an under the sea theme, but we soon deemed it "under the sea and everything else". It was so much fun watching them use their imaginations to create all sorts of pictures and was wonderful to see the delight in the children's faces.
I learnt a lot from the compassion and caring nature of these children. They are a true family and it is wonderful to see how much they each care for one another. The only regret I have of my time there was that my stay was so short. I would highly recommend the volunteer programme to anyone and would love to see people to donate, as it is such an amazing cause and worthy of great praise

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Tel: +31(0)10-4199188
E-mail: info@wwcf.nl


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Download hier het Jaarverslag van 2016