Opportunities and Adventure

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Opportunities and Adventure

On Monday, 4 July, 14 students and two teachers from Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School left Perth Airport to travel across the ocean to Cambodia. Our first impression of the country was on the way to our accommodation where we were taken on a tour and scenic experience by our wonderful Rustic Pathway guides Tara, Rony and Seng Hong of Phnom Penh. The next morning, we awoke to a warm day and a beautiful breakfast complete with spice noodles and dragon fruit.

We travelled through Phnom Penh to our first historic experience of the S-21 Museum, a former school, where we learned the atrocious stories of what happened during the period of the Khmer Rouge uprising. We then visited the sombre Killing Fields, a confronting experience, where hundreds upon hundreds of men, women and children were executed.

We witnessed so many amazing things on our journey through Cambodia, including learning of the plight of the endangered sun and moon bears; the Save the Bear organisation is phenomenal group dedicated to the great cause of rescuing endangered bears and other animals from the exotic pet trade and exploitation for traditional medicines. Each of us got to feed the bears and learn more about the wildlife of Cambodia before heading back into the city for dinner. We helped construct three houses through the Tabitha Foundation, an organisation aimed at helping the lower class people of Cambodia. We had fun with the local children who played with each other and us before we said farewells to the families we had raised money for.

The next day we took a tour through the Palace and Garden and a tranquil boat ride along the Mekong River. We visited the silk markets and learnt how silk can be handmade and were able to try making it ourselves. We also visited a learning centre, BSDA, for disadvantaged youths and young adults who have grown up without an education, where we worked together in mixed groups to create a piece of art. For some of us, the day ended with paint all over our faces and laughing at each other before we played some more games. The following day, we had our first inside glimpse of an old, beautifully ruined temple. It was decorated with striking detailed painting on the inside, and lovely monks gave us sai sin bracelets that they had blessed.

That same day, we said our goodbyes to our beloved guides, and boarded our plane home. It was sad, but we all knew our experiences in Cambodia had changed us for the better. We’d all like to thank our teachers who had to put up with us – Ms Cooper and Mr Molewyck – and the lovely Elsemieke Marren and Viveka Cameron, who made all this possible. We’re so grateful you gave us the opportunity to go on this adventure.

Matt Riley and Ysabel Kershaw :: Year 10