We have made it! It’s hard to believe that just 12 short hours ago we were complaining about how cold and miserable Melbourne was. Now, were what seems like a million miles away, and there is sweat. A LOT of sweat!
Our excitement has reached optimum level. Not even 12 hours of travel and a delightfully sticky 40 degrees can stop us! We get out of the airport and are greeted by the bright smiling faces of our Team leaders Yut and Claire from Pepy Tours. After brief but energetic introductions, we are off, ready for our first glimpse of Phnom Penh! Luckily for the 3 of us, this was in the form of our first delicious traditional Khmer Dinner. We weren’t able to hide our love and excitement for food for very long. Needless to say our first dinner spiked our enthusiasm even more.
We’re not the 3 most graceful or lady like girls at the best of times but unfortunately for those around us, the heat has personified this to a whole new level. Not only are we sweaty, we are starting to realise there’s not much we can do to stop it. But still our excitement lives on. Despite the sweat, we realise we are so incredibly blessed to be given this opportunity but, we are even more grateful that we get to experience it all with such free spirited, intelligent, caring and like-minded people. Through our first full day of team bonding it’s clear just how passionate and driven we all are to grow and learn as individuals and as a group. It’s funny, a lot of times when people think about development and aid, people presume it is us that is going to be teaching those less fortunate than us, but in reality it really is the other way round. People in the developing world have so much to teach us and we have so much to learn from them. With this mentality, the 11 of us have aimed to ‘face and understand the realities and accept the challenges of an open and present experience with the goal of growth’. With a little inspiration from our resident Monk and Buddhist teacher Yut, we have committed ourselves to embark on a journey that is going to challenge and develop us mentally, spiritually, emotionally, interpersonally, linguistically and culturally and therefore push us to question all that we believe we know and the ways in which we see the world, and our place in that world. Be prepared, we are probably coming back to Melbourne as (not so little) Buddha’s! In such a short time we have been forced to learn so much about ourselves, and question and understand our realities and the realities of those around us. It so cliché and cheesy to say but the safe space of sharing, learning and growing has created a supportive and encouraging family away from home! How blessed are we!
P.s Sorry for the cheesey-ness ! But Hey we like cheesey-ness so get ready for plenty more !
Love S, H and K!