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IVHQ Video Tour: Cambodia

Cambodia comes up next on the IVHQ Video Tour, as IVHQ Asia Coordiantor, Margarete Lua, and our videographer, visit our local team and volunteers in Siem Reap!

Saturday 2 March

After an 8 hour layover at Bangkok International Airport, we arrive in Siem Reap at around 9pm on Saturday night. 

The tuk-tuk ride from the airport to the volunteer house took just over 15 minutes and allowed us to see the city at night in all its shining glory with the magnificent top notch hotels lit up like Christmas trees. 

We drop our bags at the volunteer house and venture into town to grab a bite to eat. The night markets are swarming with locals and tourist alike and after swerving what seems like a million moto’s we reach the restaurant. We tried banana blossom salad, fish amok and some delicious barbequed meats.

After a cold shower to beat the stifling heat, it is time for bed. 

Driving the streets in Cambodia as an IVHQ volunteer

Sunday 3 March

Early Sunday morning, I join the volunteers for some breakfast, toast and spreads with plenty of fruit and coffee. I spend the morning talking with volunteers and exploring the local markets. The array of fresh produce, fish and meats is an amazing sight, however the smell is almost overwhelming. The locals squat amongst their produce on raised tables and sell everything imaginable, from stuffed turtles to dragon fruit.

After a delicious lunch at the volunteer house, consisting of two stir-fries, soup and rice we are picked up for our day of temple visits. Our local guide tells us everything we need to know and the temples are absolutely mind blowing. The main Angkor Wat temple took over a million people approximately thirty-seven years to build!

In the evening we are treated to a show of traditional Khmer dancing in full traditional attire. 

Watching a traditional Khmer dancing with IVHQ volunteers in Cambodia

Monday 4 March

Following breakfast, we take a 2 minute walk to visit a local NGO where two volunteers are currently placed. The main purpose of this NGO is empowering local women in their communities and giving them the support to fight for the issues affecting themselves and their children. The volunteer work consists of proposal writing, searching for donors/sponsors, researching projects and the occasional English lesson for the NGO staff.

In the afternoon, we visit an orphanage school which is home to over 50 children and schools many more. Volunteers reach this placement via a 40 minute bike ride through the country side and teach for approximately 4 hours a day. Teaching work consists of learning the alphabet, word pronounciation and teaching the children to read basic English. The remainder of their time is consumed by lesson planning, having lunch at the school and playing with the children during break times. The children love the presence of the volunteers, who regularly set up football and basketball games to keep the children occupied.

In the evening, we visit the night markets which are roaming with beautiful artworks and more souvenirs than a 20kg luggage limit can handle!

Visiting an IVHQ teaching placement in Cambodia

Tuesday 5 March

Today we visit a volunteer working at a local NGO which is a 15 minute bike ride away from the volunteer house, which works predominantly in sustainable environmental development and community development. Projects include working towards fisheries conservation, sustainable agriculture, pest control and prevention. Volunteer work consists of proposal writing, checking the English of reports written by NGO staff and can include field visits for long term volunteers. 

We were lucky enough to be treated to a field visit and see the NGO in action. The project we visited works with local farmers and teaches them agricultural skills to allow them to successfully farm their land for commercial and personal use. The technical assistant employed by the NGO demonstrated the new irrigation system which has been installed and taught villagers how to identify and successfully treat pests and diseases affecting their crops. 

Visiting an IVHQ NGO placement in Cambodia

After an exciting lunch of lotus root and shrimp, I ventured back into town for a quick purchase before we left this busy little town. A local artist with physical disabilities and an extraordinary talent for pencil sketches and colourful paintings had managed to talk me into purchasing a second drawing of him. With an admiration for his work, I did not bother to barter and hurried back to the volunteer house to pack my bags and prepare for the next part of our journey. 

Keen to volunteer in Cambodia and see more photos from the tour? See our IVHQ Video Tour: Cambodia album on Facebook and stay tuned to the IVHQ YouTube Channel as we add our videos from the tour!


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