project kaleidoscope, cambodia (2011)

Thursday, May 15, 2014
One of the most memorable project that i was involved with during my time in Eusoff Hall would be the Overseas Community Involvement Project - Project Kaleidoscope. Throughout the entire year, we organize activities and events to raise funds, create awareness, volunteering in our own community and ultimately to volunteer in the rural area of Cambodia for two weeks.

The entire team with some of the villagers in front of our humble abode for two weeks

Throughout our two weeks stay in Prey Ang Kunh village, we improved sanitary conditions through constructing wells and toilets, conducted english lessons, art & craft sessions, as well as a mini sports day for the children from the village.

The construction of wells and toilets, where most of the work that we did was very basic
Teaching the children some really basic english hoping to make a difference in their lives
With my adorable class of lions, i believe they had a good time like i did

We were all really happy that the children enjoyed the sports day

After our arrival, the children would come by our house everyday before and after school. They are contented and happy just by playing simple games with us, playing hide and seek, skipping ropes and simply just being around us.

That's Keith, the very talented photographer who took all the beautiful pictures, all credits to him
We often have very long queue for the basketball station, the simplicity of having a fun time
While we were busy building toilets, the children entertain themselves playing with the construction materials

Every morning, i will wake up to the sounds of the birds, chickens and cows. It's carefree living at its best. One of the things that i look forward to is the evening walk to the field with the kids. They love to impress us by catching live crabs from the paddy field, and the naughty ones would try to throw it into our clothes. It freaks me out! But some of the kids were protecting me the entire time, it was hilarious.

The short walk leads to a gorgeous field where we would enjoy beautiful view of the sunset
The children would start to catch crabs with their bare hands
Laying down on the field is probably one of the best thing to do
All set and ready for the gorgeous sunset!

Besides all the above, we had to take care of ourselves by cooking meals for the entire team, washing our clothes and took turns to shower with the well water (the boys are usually kind enough to pump the water for us). Each team is assigned different task everyday, ranging from construction, visitation, teaching, as well as cooking meals for the entire team.

Buying our ingredients at the local market, deciding what to cook for the team
Each team would try to outdo each cooking, and this beef steak with mashed potato, sauteed mushroom and garlic bread was probably our best, and not forgetting the caramel banana for dessert :)
This girl here is the ever bubbly and happy, Valencia - my laundry, gossip and foodie partner

Sometimes we would try to wake up early to catch the sunrise. We would walk to the field under the rose-pink light of dawn in our sleepy state. And did i mention the amazing moonrise that we saw? I still remember very clearly, the night we walk to the field in pitch black darkness, so dark that i can't even see my hand. We sat on the field, just talking about nothingness, then this amazing thing happened. We saw a gleam of light in the darkness wondering what it was at such an ungodly hour, then after much debate, we finally believed what Keith claimed as to be a moonrise. It was one of the few truly euphoric moments I've experienced.

The lovely rose-pink light of dawn wakes me up immediately!
Looking back at my pictures, i was wondering when did i go to hawaii
YAY! to awesome sunrise, waking up early was worth it after all
That amazing moonrise, look at the stars! It was actually really dark, the camera was just too good

On our final night, the villagers prepared a feast and gathered together to show their gratitude and appreciation for all our work. I believe they brought all the alcohol that they have, and party the night away with us.

All happy with the super yummy food!
Finishing up the drinks was kind of obligatory, which help us to enjoy the night even better

All who was involved have the same goal, to make the lives of the less fortunate kids in the village a better one, raise the maturity and skill level of the villagers in the long term and eventually empower them to escape their poverty status. We had the chance to bring service learning and spirit of volunteerism beyond the local boundaries and be exposed to realities of the harsh lives in poorer countries.

Our team successfully constructed 10 wells, 22 toilets, distributed 250 water filters, and donated USD1,350 for education and animal rearing.

It was heartbreaking to leave the children on our last day. I truly wish and pray that they are doing well, and will make a difference to the village.