Sunday, October 2, 2016

My first team trip!

Two weeks ago I joined my first RAW team trip as the second logistics leader. Which basically means I was the person who helped make sure everything ran smoothly, from the tuk tuk drivers to the food service at the Titanic. I learned quickly and had great teachers. Here's a rundown of the two weeks the year 10 students (that's Sophomores to us Americans) had while here.

Day 1
Group arrive at airport dazed and confused :)
Shove all luggage into bus and pile in tuk tuk
Take the group on their first adventure to the hotel via busy, crazy roads.
Let them settle in for a couple hours
Go to fancy restaurant on the river front called Titanic (luckily there are no icebergs in Cambodia. . . )

Day 2
Embrace and understand the cultural day
Visit RAW Impact offices and learn what we do on a daily basis
Visit SheRescue office and learn about human trafficking and the journey Cambodia has been on to eliminate sex trafficking.
Visit S21 also called Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the former high school that was turned into a torture facility to 'hunt' for spies
Eat a quite lunch while starting to mentally process the history of Cambodia
Visit one of the killing fields outside of Phnom Penh
Go back to the hotel to regroup
Debrief the day as a group
Go to dinner on a river boat on the Mekong with yummy Chinese noodles and try and stay dry in the rain

Day 3
Head out to the village where work is being done on the bamboo buildings RAW is building in partnership with local village families in need
(I got to drive the ute ((that's Australian for a truck)) back to the school through mud and all sorts of adventure!)
Eat lunch on site
Work really hard all day and head back to Phnom Penh (45 min depending on ferry traffic .. . or fairy traffic depending on how much sun you might have gotten that day . . . )
Head out to another exciting restaurant just two buildings away from the hotel

Day 4
Work in village all day
Try to not get heat stroke
Eat amazing food on site
Drink lots of fluids
(I drove the ute again and got it less muddy than the day before)
Go back to hotel to shower and RnR
Go eat lovely food at another local restaurant

Day 5
Come downstairs prepared with all of your luggage- one pack for an over night adventure in the village the other packed for the next stage of the adventure (RAW staff too)
Work on site really hard so you can finish what you started
Pack up all tools a bit early
Divide kids into groups (via the sponsors) and give each group $3 to purchase food for supper and breakfast for themselves and the family they will be staying the night with
Head to the market, make fast purchases to beat the sunset, watch the kids figure out how to buy food and communicate
Get back to the village houses, send kids to their home for the night with a mat, mozzie (mosquito) net, towel and sarong for girls to shower with
Help monitor setting up and cooking of food (although mainly the house moms just take the food and cook giving the kids simple tasks to do ;) as well as the mozzie nets
Watch the kids learn how to express themselves in Khmer without knowing words
Watch the kids play in the dirt path with the local kids as it rains and turns into a muddy slip 'n' slide
Finally sit back and relax as everyone is settled in for the night (this is my favorite night)

Day 6
Load up all the campout gear into vans and gather the kids to head out
Stop at Browns coffee shop to appease the adults and their sore sleep deprived bodies ;)
Drive 6 hrs up to KratiĆ© with a pit stop to eat our baguette sandwiches from Phnom Penh
Settle in to hotel
Walk to another yummy restaurant around the corner from hotel

Day 7
Hunt for good coffee that isn't the thick Khmer coffee
Go to Koki village and help two local families who were displaced by the government create a garden (it took our kids a day and a half to do where as it would have taken the local family over a month to set up) These families are on the edge of existence. They are quite far from resources and don't have any real source of income. Out of all the work we do this is my favorite village
Sludge and work in mud
Drink heaps of water
Eat lunch on site (that I got to help cook in giant pots)
Half the group went back early to take the Tour de Brett around KratiƩ
Eat supper at yet another incredible place

Day 8
Discover good coffee
Go to Koki
Drink heaps of fluids
Sludge through even more mud
Take breaks in shade
Eat lunch on site
Dedicate the two gardens to God and pray for his blessing on the families
Head with second group on Tour de Brett. Get to see the three different housing types in a village
Feel like a celebrity in a parade as kids run out to the street to high five you as you peddle past
Eat supper at the same place as the first night, enjoy the food just as much
Fall into bed thinking you are too old for this summer camp life

Day 9 
Say goodbye to RAW project staff as they head back to Phnom Penh
Journey onward to Siem Reap with the team leader, the other logistics leader and a tired body ready to sit for several hours in an van with air con (that's ac to us Americans, the only nickname we use that's actually shorter than the Aussies)
Stop at lovely place in route for lunch along side a river with water lilies
Arrive in touristy Siem Reap
Hand out $20 to each person for supper that day and lunch the next day
Eat supper at different restaurants (if it rains and outside order a yummy hot chocolate and imagine it's fall)

Day 10 
Get up before the butt crack of dawn
Head to Angkor Wat for a magical sunrise
Wander around the temple as the sun makes its declaration for the day
Go back to hotel for breakfast and coffee
Go out to the head temple and tree temple . . . correctly known as Bayon and Ta Prohm
Soak in the beauty that man has made and imerse in the power that God has and can place trees where ever He wants
Deposit kids and sponsors at hotel for afternoon of free exploration in the many cheap markets and stores that Siem Reap hosts
Find a lovely place to get a pedicure
Wander through the many markets
Debrief the trip with the group in a beautiful circle meeting
Get impacted by wise words of year 10 kids
Get reminded that it was all worth it to have helped changed the life of the group
Eat our last group meal together, have last great conversations with kids and soak up the camaraderie

Day 11
Find good coffee or a hot chocolate and a fresh pumpkin muffin that is AMAZING
Eat late breakfast at hotel
Go with other RAW staff donate blood (unless the hemoglobin is to low . . . )
Gather the kids and sponsors to load up the tuk tuks for one last time as they are sent off to the airport with all their last minute purchases of faux-okleys and faux-nikes, etc.
Find coffee shop to sit at with amazing RAW teammates to decompress, debrief and watch the world go by on the sidewalk for HOURS
Wander around the markets
Meet up with other RAW staff for a brick pizza oven supper
Get the most amazing coconut oil massage of a lifetime
Grab rucksack (backpack in American) and load up in the overnight bus bound for Phnom Penh

Day 12
Arrive bleary eyed at 5 am in Phnom Penh ready for a few days off to sleep, sleep some more and wash clothes

1 comment:

DW said...

Sonya, You are doing such an awesome job over there. I love your blogs. They make me feel like I'm living it with you. Hugs to you.