西田航希 － カンボジア 高校生スペシャルケア＆コミュニティ
When I was thinking about the plans for summer break, I really wanted to do something worth doing that can make me a more experienced person. I did not want to waste my long break by staying at home just watching TV. I heard about Projects Abroad for the first time when my mom suggested me the care and community project in Cambodia. I thought that this would be a new challenge for me since I did not have many volunteering experiences and I wanted to meet and interact with new people. I decided to join the project because I knew this would be a great opportunity to help myself grow as a person and to improve my communication skills in English.
During the 2 weeks in Cambodia, we spent a fulfilling time volunteering and learning about Cambodia. On the weekdays, we went to our 2 different placements. In the morning, we went to the kindergarten to play with the kids. Their ages were 3-4 years old, so we taught them a little bit of English like alphabet and played easy games that everyone can enjoy. We planned different games everyday for the kids in the planning sessions and they loved it. They drew pictures with stickers, played with balloons, and played some music games. Other than these activities, we also supported the teachers by washing the children’s hands, cutting their nails, feeding them, and brushing their teeth. Whenever we arrived to the kindergarten, the kids were very excited to play with us. Seeing their happy faces and their energy motivated me to do whatever I can do to help them. In the afternoon, we got to go to a different school to paint the walls in a room where the students have lunch. It was the hardest task we did since we only had 5 volunteers in the group and painting 3 walls took quite a long time. On one of those three walls, we drew vegetables and fruits of many kinds.
After finishing it up nice and clean, the students and the teachers came to see the wall. I remember that we were exhausted, but listening to the students saying “thank you” to us made me glad and proud of our team. I realized that I had achieved something special and meaningful. On the weekend, we visited the Angkor Wat World Heritage in Siem Reap. It was definitely one of the best views I have ever seen in my life. We got to see the sunset and the reflection of the water, which I think it is absolutely amazing.
Throughout this project, I became able to not only have more passion towards volunteer work, but also have more will to contribute to a goal at the same time. Before flying to Cambodia, my definition of “volunteering” was just helping a community or people by not getting paid. This project completely changed my perspective making me realize that it is a much more important thing than I thought. I knew the situation of a developing country by actually going there. The environment they live was not maintained very clean and healthy. I saw dusty places and lots of garbage left in the city. So, teaching basic life skills to young children and cleaning the school were significant actions that we took in order to support the future of Cambodia. I really hope this makes a change for the kids when they grow up. Because of these, I really put in effort to help Cambodia to be a part of this change. Also, my groupmates, group coordinators, and staffs influenced me to have this attitude since all of them were contributable, serious, and intelligent people. I had a lot of fun being with them and got along with them with great teamwork. We were able to succeed on this project which I am very glad with.
In the future, I would like to join another project and continue volunteering in many different places. I will never forget this significant experience in Cambodia. I want to keep being an active and positive person who can take actions to make changes by myself at any situations. What Cambodia has taught me is huge and special to me, so I am grateful for this opportunity I had this summer. I am also grateful to my parents, all the staff, my team, and the kids, who made my 2 weeks wonderful. If you are looking for volunteering opportunities abroad, I think Projects Abroad would be a perfect one. I definitely recommend you to be a part of the project if you are still deciding.
西田航希 - カンボジア 高校生スペシャルケア＆コミュニティ