Cambodia Project 2016 - Helping to Build a School in Rural Cambodia
Written by Kyra, Grade 11 Student
Arriving at the school, one of the first things we noticed were the old cement blocks with wooden planks barely holding up the roof. All the children stood huddled waiting for us. They stood tall, proudly reciting their English hellos while their teachers welcomed us with huge smiles on their face. That's when we all knew we could make a difference. An opportunity not only to help, but also to learn from.
We worked for 3 days, carrying sand and rocks, heaving cement, stacking bricks and flattening grounds. All while being surrounded by the school children, who were always ready to lend a hand. They did not stop until their teachers called them in for goodbyes. I couldn't help but think that at their age, we would have gotten bored within minutes. Yet they helped us for hours on end with our mouths gaping at their commitment.
The kids started off shy, quietly mumbling among themselves. However, it did not take long until there was chatter among everyone. Khmer and English was mixing, hands were being held and high fives were being exchanged. We were working hand in hand; carrying buckets together, that at times were heavier than the children themselves. We were a team, helping build their school.
The moment we heard the little kids coming back early from their lunch break and claiming not be tired at all, we knew we were at the right place. These children were the ones who pushed us harder and further than we ever would have. They were the reason we were here. They were the reason we were able to finish a day earlier allowing for a very special extra day with them.
We had already spent breaks making origami cranes, singing songs and playing soccer, but that last day we were finally able to just enjoy our time together. The day was filled with laughter and joy, but we all knew it had to come to an end, the lingering goodbyes were in everyone's mind. No one wanted to leave.
What we wouldn't give to see another one of their smiles, or hold one of their hands again, knowing that we made a difference. A difference, that made all our sore muscles and flaming sunburns worth it. This trip changed us all, gave us perspective and most of all made us grateful for all that we have. We have hope.