Cambodian Connections: An Eye-Opening Trip to Kirivong
This is the first trip I came back from with zero souvenirs for anyone and nothing for myself, but I am certainly richer from the experience.
In anticipation of meeting the villagers of Kirivong, Cambodia, we bought gifts for our sponsored children, the other children we met and their families. The smiles on their faces when they saw the gifts were priceless. No, the gifts were not the latest gadgets or games, but items they needed; basic necessities like rice, oil, toothbrushes and school uniforms. Items we hardly bat an eyelid over and will probably never consider buying as a present for a friend. But they were so well received and appreciated wholeheartedly.
This trip was not a spa retreat, or fun in the sun holiday I usually opt for. However, it was a very fulfilling, eye-opening and soul-satisfying trip. It also allowed me to meet fellow like-minded trippers who inspired me with their positive energy, generosity and sincerity to touch lives.
Since I’ve returned, I still think about the villagers I met in Cambodia and wonder what they might be doing now and how I could have made things better for them had I known more about their needs.
Yes, I have read about the poorest of the poor and seen, in pictures and on television, what poor communities look like; but to actually breathe the same air and experience their lives, albeit for a brief moment, is something else; almost surreal.
This was what humbled me; that they might be surviving on the barest of basic necessities, but they looked contented and were very grateful for any help they were given. Through the help of a translator, their simple yet heartfelt “thank yous” echoed repeatedly. We heard many testimonies from vulnerable family members, past and present, with each sharing how their lives have changed for the better since World Vision’s intervention. These were indeed, truly reflective moments for me. I will endeavour to remind myself how lucky I am, each time I whine over the most insignificant of issues.
I am most impressed with the work World Vision has done. Living up to its name, the vision the organisation has isn’t simply a pipe dream but a series of goals and targets which they continually set and achieve. World Vision systematically reaches out to one community at a time, setting in place one project at a time to improve the lives of the impoverished.
During the trip, sponsors were brought to see the various intervention projects and their different phases of completion. We witnessed the construction of water and sanitation facilities. We also observed how mothers of malnourished children were taught proper nutrition. Children were given the opportunity to learn, read and write. Youths were also taught special skills to help them carve a better future for themselves.
Bravo World Vision, I have benefitted greatly from this experience and you will definitely have my stronger support henceforth.