Aynsley's Great Cambodian Adventure Part 4
Author: Aynsley Damery
Blog Date: 08 Januarty 2014
This is the fourth blog in the series about my Great Cambodian Adventure!
Quick recap: For those of you who don’t know, on 4 January I left for Siem Reap, Cambodia to join the B1G1 2014 Study Tour. I’ll be visiting some of the projects that we, at Tayabali Tomlin, support and also helping build a playground for over 150 primary schoolchildren, conducting a knowledge workshop for scholarship students and visiting vocational training and community projects, amongst others.
Early Start To Visit The Temples
Half of the group was staying at the Victoria Angkor (Vivian, Steve, Verena, Jean-Paul, Helen, Guy & me) and half staying at Soria Moria (Jayne, Amanda, Jeremy, Josh, Jessica, Kerrie & Ethan with the B1G1 team). Both hotel’s guests were in separate buses for the first few days, as some of the locations we were visiting only permitted small buses. We were collected early from our hotel to beat the crowds by our very upbeat tour guide Silen, who was intent on having the better bus! She went to great lengths with cold water, chilled hand wipes, sweets and excited chatter. Little did we know that her competitor in the other bus was her husband! And little did the other bus know of our treats…..yet! That morning we visited the temples of Ta Prohm and Bayon in the Angkor Thom complex. Ta Prohm is more recently renowned as the Lara Croft Tomb Raider temple, but has more to it than that to recommend it! Bayon has wonderful stone carvings depicting historical events and many striking smiling beauties! After the temples we had an amazing lunch at Joe to Go, a social enterprise restaurant and boutique providing under privileged students with training and all profits go to Global Child. The food was great but it never stopped coming…..even after we said stop!!! They were very keen to please!
This Life Cambodia
TLC - That afternoon we visited This Life Cambodia, a Non-Governmental Organistation (NGO) based in Siem Reap and founded by Billy Gorter in 2007. TLC supports the development of sustainable communities and it works to improve the quality and access to education in 3 provinces in Cambodia. The NGO works closely with communities to listen to them, find the root causes to their issues, identify solutions and prioritise actions. Above all, they believe in letting the communities identify their own needs and sustainable solutions. TLC runs various programs such as educational scholarships, Pedaling out of Poverty, Light up a Life and Beyond Bars (supporting juveniles imprisoned for petty crimes in adult prisons – Cambodia lacks a juvenile criminal system). Interestingly the name came from discussions Billy had with children before he set up the NGO. They always said “in next life, I will be able to do this”, “in next life I can” “in next life…”. When asked about “This Life” they said they had no opportunities!
We took part in a unique experience and opportunity called “the walk” to reflect on how community development works in real life. It is a brand new approach that TLC uses to help us understand the context and objectives of their programs without disrupting life in the communities in which they work. On the walk we passed homes, shops, schools, fields and finished in the grounds of the community pagoda.
the walk teamAs a result, the 20 minute walk gave many of us deep, new insights on the importance of working as a community. We learnt that without real community development, long-term impacts cannot be created. We also met 2 students who are supported by This Life Cambodia. They are recipients of TLC’s Pedalling Out of Poverty project. Pedalling Out of Poverty provides a second-hand bicycle and lock to each student and this simple means of transportation gives the student an ability to attend secondary school and continue his or her education, breaking the cycle of poverty. Every adult participant on this study tour also contributed one bike to a disadvantaged student.
Coming Soon - Part 5: An evening with crickets and deep connections!
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Author: Aynsley Damery
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