We were thrilled when our 3rd year apprentice Kyle told us he wanted to participate in volunteer work using his skills in Cambodia, a place close to our heart with the essence of our company Bayon Gardens being influenced by the monument the ‘Bayon’. It was the incredible serene design, built to last the distance of time with fine workmanship, coupled with incredible mother nature doing her thing that had us captivated. Having participated in volunteer work previously assisting in forest rejuvenation in Borneo, to have one of our crew continue with work that makes an impact has as both proud and inspired.
We interviewed Kyle on his experience to share;
What inspired you to participate with volunteer work in Cambodia?
I had heard from friends who had previously done volunteer work and said it was an amazing experience, and the fact I would be able to use my skills to help a community.
What was the project for?
The project was to continue building a community centre Move and Swinburne have previously been working on over a few years. The actual project the group and I built, was a concrete footpath joining the school to the community centre, as well as some raised garden beds.
What skills did you use on the project?
We used a mix of skills, a variety coming from Khmer builders as well as some from our group. We excavated the area using hand-made hand tools, we used bricks laid on mortar to build the raised border of the footpath, same with the garden beds, and screeded the concrete using a straight edge and floats.
Did you interact with the locals? What were they like?
We interacted with a lot of locals. The locals in Kampot (where we stayed while working) were very kind and the children at the schools we visited were very excited to see us and learn from us.
What extra activities were included on the trip?
We had a day trip doing tours around Phnom Penh, visiting the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, the Independence Monument, the Late King Father Statue, and visited local Buddhist Monks at a local temple. We also participated in a number of things in our spare time like a boat cruise down Preaek Tuek Chhu river.
Any highlights/ memories you would like to share?
The highlight for me was experiencing a new country, the amazing culture, and the impact we had on the Chumkriel language school.
How did this trip impact you?
I do appreciate everything I have, but it makes me appreciate everything that little bit more. I also realised how little opportunities Cambodians have, which makes me want to take every opportunity I get in life and make the most of it!
Would you do more volunteer work down the track?
If an opportunity came up again, I would jump at it.