Week 1: We left Hornsea, Yorkshire at 2am. Fast forward 14 hours, and we had landed in Bancock. Due to our 10 hour layover we had a lot of spare time, so we decided to explore temples. As tired as we were, they were stunning, but I couldn’t tell you which ones we visited because I was so tired! By the time we had reached our final destination in Siem Reap, we were ready to head to bed and recharge for an early start the next day.
For the first week, we taught English and electronics/programming in an orphanage school on the outskirts of the town. We had no idea of what to expect in terms of ages or ability and few of us had teaching experience. Nevertheless, it was an amazing week. The children were fantastic and were fascinated with me as I was missing some front teeth (from a cycling mishap), I must have been the tallest toothless person they had ever seen!
It flew by far too soon. After fond farewells (and promises to return one day), we set off back to the hotel for a weekend of exploring new destinations. This time we headed for temples in Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.
We arrived in Prey Chrouk Commune, a small, poor rural village in the Siem Reap Province. We were staying in houses on stilts – with lots of creepy crawlies everywhere! We had planned to teach the same subjects again at the local school as well as aiding with the building of a dining shelter. This time I put most of my effort into the building work, with some teaching in-between.
All the building work had to be done by hand, including cement mixing, earth shifting and earth compacting. This was pretty tough in 40-degree temperatures. I wasn’t just sweating buckets, I was sweating swimming pools…!
By the end of the week, the dining shelter was all but finished and the schools director held a little goodbye party and opening ceremony for the shelter. We exchanged gifts and took lots of photos, before heading back to the hotel in Siem Reap. The following day we returned to Bancock to see some wildlife before our 3 hour journey to South East Asia.
Last few days:
Our last 2 days were spent at an elephant sanctuary, where we washed, fed and walked the elephants! We spent some time observing the Thai countryside and the views were stunning. After this brief stop it was back in the air and back home to England.
The experience has changed me quite profoundly, I now plan to study part of my degree in Malaysia and become an English teacher in South East Asia. I hope to return to Cambodia one day.
By wearing my Craghoppers NosiLife kit throughout my stay in Cambodia, I felt comfortable, safe in the knowledge I was protected from insects and the sun and this definitely made me more productive as a result!
By Elliott Jackoby