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This blog is a little different this week as we wanted to share the experience we had, as the Operations Team, with one of our travelling students. We always try and shout that we’re here to help with all things expeditions, but also in regard to the fundraising side of things, but not many people take us up on the offer. But Talishe did – and we’re so happy she did. We are really aware of how tough and challenging fundraising can seem, but we hope the below will help to keep you motivated.

 Talishe was travelling to Cambodia at the beginning of January 2019, and she needed some help getting there. She had a part-time job which she budgeted around, she did a number of bake sales, sausage sizzles, selling numbers on a square board, even selling some of her dad’s old power tools (with his permission of course!). By working closely with her by being at the end of her emails and Facebook messages, we were able to support her, tailor her payment plan to suit her events and work, we kept her on track and guess what…. She got to Cambodia! With all of her hard work, she really appreciated the experience so much and we were very proud when she left Australia to head to her expedition.

 If you are struggling with fundraising, not sure where to get started, or just want to someone to bounce ideas off of, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! We’re even on Facebook – join our Fundraising Group by requesting to be friends with us at https://www.facebook.com/campsaus

Have a read about Talishe’s time in Cambodia!

  – Tanya & Lyndsea, Operations & Support Team

Having missed out on a few of the meetings that had the core information, I really didn’t know what to expect from this expedition in Cambodia. From what I imagined there was going to be lot of project work, so I literally thought most of the trip would be hard work but that wasn’t the case. I knew there was going to be a trek and that we would see Angkor Wat, but I wasn’t expecting the opportunities to visit local restaurants, buffets, and have a bit of air-conditioning hotels too! Another thing was how little I knew everyone who was going on the trip with me, so I was pretty nervous about that! I never imagined how immersed in the culture and communities we would be, it was incredible.

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Since we were going to be in Cambodia for 21 days, I found our time was really well planned out with a variety of things to see and do. The first two nights were spent in the city of Phnom Penh where we did some sight seeing, shopping and resting before the hard yards kicked in. Once we arrived at the first camp, we settled in and got stuck into some successful and rewarding project work and fun experiences. I miss the children! They were my absolute highlight of the trip, I helped to teach them a bit of English as they taught me Khmer, we made bonds and friendships with each other, I learnt and remembered so many names as they did mine – they would chant it out from the camp gate for me come play! It made my heart so happy and warm.

Visiting the schools was one of the main things I was looking forward to because I didn’t expect to be staying so close to the villages where children would be. Arriving at the village’s school, an ocean of beautiful, smiling children waited at the front of the building next to the school’s well. I recognised a bunch of familiar faces from the village as a swarm of children surrounded me in the bright, warm Cambodian sun. Some of the students played outdoor games with us and some were taught an English lesson by us. My eyes filled with tears when it was time to go as little bodies ran up to my legs and hugged them tightly, saying goodbye.

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On the last night of our stay, the camp threw a dance party bonfire for the village people to have fun with us one last time before saying farewell. Loud music echoed across the village as children and families made their way along the gravel road to the camp, and were welcomed to the party. I received handmade gifts from so many of the children and at the end of the night our team donated some of our clothes as well. The goodbyes were tearful, but I will never forget them! I let them know I’ll be returning in a few years to see them all again hopefully and check up on the family who we built a well for.

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Moving onto the next stop, Camp Beng Mealea, was very exciting for all of. Camp Beng Mealea is near the mountain where we walked for 3.5 days, trekking up and over it while staying in camps, pagodas, and monk monasteries along the way. At this camp we worked on a school, finishing up with a bright painting at the front of the small 2 classroom building, which felt so great to accomplish. My group did a lot more than expected, even the Camp Manager, Han was surprised! Han is such a beautiful, loving, happy, caring guy! We completed the 3rd day of the trek at the most amazing waterfall and had so much fun there. Next thing you know we arrive at the bottom of 850+ steps, hop onto the big red bus and are in a hotel in Siem Reap City. We did lots of great sight seeing of temples and the interesting floating village!

By the time we knew it we were boarding the plane to go back home. The expedition was such an amazing experience that I’m glad I went along for. All of the positive impact we made feels so very rewarding and I’m so happy I could have helped much less fortunate people! I miss the children, they made me so happy. We couldn’t have had better chefs cooking our meals or better Expedition Leaders.

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Overall the struggle of affording this expedition and the effort that went into saving and fundraising for it was definitely worth it in the end!!!

See you again Cambodia <3

Thank you Camps International