Cambodia 2016 - One year on

So, it turns out I'm useless at remembering to write blog posts and I never did get around to writing a follow up post - or any post at all - But here it is, finally, Cambodia part 2. But where do I begin? 

It's now been a year since my trip to Cambodia (where does time go?!) In my previous blog I shared a few stand out highlights of our trip, so I've decided to share a few more of my favourite photographs and memories. There are so so many photos to choose from but I finally picked out a few - who knows I may have new photos next year (fingers crossed).

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Stuck in the mud
The quick snap above was taken after a heavy downpour saw our tuk tuk come to a halt. We were stuck, stranded and left to navigate the muddy ground in nothing but our flip flops. While it sounds a nightmare, it was far from it! A fun taste of local life!

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These three women
To these three women, I wish I knew your names, I wish I could thank you and I wish I could have just one more minute in your company. I will never forget your faces, the hysteria with which you laughed at my spoken words, the fascination on your face as your son translated over and over the same three questions "Where are you from?", "What is your name?"  and "How many brothers and sister have you?". Your shrieks of laughter are etched on my heart.

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A beautiful scam
I totally fell for a money making scam in getting these ladies to bless my feet, head and new friendship bracelet - but who cares. I loved this beautiful moment in the middle of Angkor Watt surrounded by the ancient beauty of Cambodia.

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The girl and her cat
Such a little poser, she knew she was the in the spotlight and worked her puppy dog eyes as she grabbed a teeny tiny kitten and posed for the camera. This same girl was seen in 2015 holiding a puppy and with this kitten in 2016, wonder what she will cuddle next?

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The baby and who?
I wish I knew who the lady was, is she grandma, mother, auntie or someone else? The language barriers prevented me from finding this out, but it did not hide the beauty and colour of this moment.

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The Jungle Book in Cambodia
The boy hiding just out of shot in my 'these three women' shot. My favourite moment mirroring one of my favourite stories.

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A picture speaks a thousand words
Such beauty, truth and wisdom in one face, this image speaks more than a thousand words it tells the story of a lifetime.

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All good things
I look at this photo and see the future, the future of the children learning, the future of Edukid and Care for Cambodia, and also my own future. The anticipation to meet up with familiar faces and hear their stories, laughter and aspirations once more - All good things come to those who wait, I will return no matter how long the wait may be.

Cambodia 2016 - Post 1

So, the long awaited trip finally arrived. And now, sadly, it's been and gone.

On the 21st October I set off on my 48+ hour journey to Cambodia, and what a journey it was. 1 ferry, 1 bus, an overnight stay, 3 flights and a crazy taxi drive later I finally arrived at our Phnom Penh base and joined the Edukid 2016 team.

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While my time in Cambodia was short, it was by far the biggest experience of my life so far - and now that it's over I'd even say it was the best!

Edukid are an amazing charity based right here in the UK, and they work their socks off every single day to ensure that children living in poverty have access to a good education. This is something I got to witness first hand. I felt the love and care, saw the hard work and the enormous amount of effort that both Edukid and their in-country parnter (Care for Cambodia) put into each and every child within their projects.

Whilst working with Edukid and Care for Cambodia I was given the opportunity to visit some villages where their education projects are in full-swing. The villages were based around Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and each one provided a very different and individual experience. 

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@rhiarhiajones

@rhiarhiajones

@rhiarhiajones

So much was crammed into the trip that it's taken me a little while to digest the experience, even now, nearly 2 weeks later, I'm still finding myself looking through photographs and struggling to comprehend that I was there, that I saw it, and that it all really happened (someone pinch me, I must be dreaming). While it's really hard to explain what I saw and felt I can definitely pick out a few major highlights; 

Handing out school packs

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@rhiarhiajones

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Running activities, crafts and games

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@rhiarhiajones

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@rhiarhiajones

 

Meeting the wonderfully inspiring people of Cambodia

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@rhiarhiajones

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@rhiarhiajones

 

Our little 'tourist' time

But, this experience wouldn't of been possible without the help of my many donators and supporters. So I thank you all, you've helped to make the seemingly impossible, possible. You've put a big smile on so many faces and connected communities from across the globe, you're all amazing! 

In the next few weeks I'll be writing a few more blog posts that will hopefully help you, my lovely supporters, to understand the impact your donations have made. I'll also be sharing details on how the Edukid 2016 team aim to sponsor an entire village, helping to secure the children's future in education, build an adequate classroom and train and support their teachers.

So stay tuned, our work has only just begun!

 

A bushtucker trial

I did it! I finally faced my fears, my worst nightmare and committed to trying a range of food I truly hate! 

To many of you, a cup of tea and bacon sandwich is an ideal breakfast, but those who know me will confirm how challenging this was for me. 

Having struggled with eating / food phobias from being a child I decided that a fundraising opportunity was the perfect time to tackle the problem head on. 

Please enjoy the embarrassing video, like, share and comment!  

You can continue to support my fundraising and volunteer trip to Cambodia through JustGiving here: https://www.justgiving.com/rhiarhiajones

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If you'd like to read about my decision to volunteer in Cambodia click here.

Thanks!

Making decisions

For those of you who know me, you'll be aware of how dreadful I am at making decisions. I can easily spend 2+ hours deciding what I want to eat for my tea before eventually falling into bed with nothing but a bowl of plain pasta in my stomach.

Not only am I bad at making decisions but I'm also not very good at sticking to a single choice once my mind is made up. To put it simply, I am probably one of the most indecisive people in the world.

However this has all recently changed, well kind of.

For many years I have dreamt of travelling the world, visiting far off countries and spending my time volunteering, but I have never once committed to a plan (and believe me, there were many many plans). But I've decided to make 2016 my year of not only making decisions but sticking to them too. 

In December I committed to moving out of my parents and in with my boyfriend. In January I made the choice to buy new furniture and committed to purchases by handing over a lot of money (cry). In February I fancied visiting a new Scottish Isle and, with a little help from the fella, decided on a camping trip to Islay. And finally in March I have followed through with my backlog of plans and can finally say I will be volunteering abroad.

In October 2016 I'll be working alongside Edukid, a charity dedicated to providing quality education for underprivileged school children in Palestine, Uganda and Cambodia. My trip will see me spend a week in Cambodia learning about how Edukid are supporting both children and their families. If you'd like to know more about Edukid please visit: www.edukid.org.uk

In advance of my trip I will be raising funds for the charity. If you'd like to show your support you can do so by donating through JustGiving here: www.justgiving.com/rhiarhiajones

I'm now counting down the days to my holiday on Islay as well as a once in a lifetime trip. I couldn't wish for a better start to 2016 - Here's to better decision making!

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