Netanya Castillo, Features Writer
This last Spring Break, WGSS sent some of its people to Cambodia for them to learn about the culture and people. Students ranging from Grade 10-12 as well as Ms. Bryant-Taneda, Mr. Randy Taneda, and Mr. Joel Hart, trip coordinator for Hope International Development Agency, attended the trip. During this “off-grid” adventure, the travelers were able to experience first hand what it meant to be a regular Cambodian citizen. The travelers slept on concrete floors and were able to interact with the staff and students of the Cambodian school they were paired with. Being around the children was one of the travelers’ favourite part, despite language barriers
“From day one, the kids and everyone else at the school welcomed us with open arms! It was something I will never forget!” ~ Abbey Cormack
Throughout their stay, the travelers were able to learn how vital a clean water source was. Now that some families of the community had personal wells, they were able to continue being their diverse and happy selves.
“It was amazing to see how they are flourishing. In comparison to the families who did not yet have a well, it was exciting to see what water can do for a family.” ~ Asia Clarke
Located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia, the people of Cambodia speak the language of Khmer. Prior to leaving on the trip. the WGSS travelers made a valid effort to learn as much of the language as they could. Similarly, the hosting community tried to learn English. Although the communication was not fluent in either language between both parties, everyone was able to understand each other through smiles, laughs, and body language.
“My favourite part of the Cambodia trip was the community gathering on our last day in the village, when a girl went up to the front of our group and called us her big sisters. It showed me the incredible power of communication even when it’s not verbal. It’s amazing how much I genuinely cared and still do care about the people we met.” ~ Nicola Ethier
The purpose of the trip was to 1) gain a better understanding of the Cambodian culture, 2) bond with the Cambodian people, and 3) helped them with humanitarian efforts. While the WGSS travelers were there, they were able to help with the manual labor involved in building a new school. Naturally, the locals were experienced in building things manually and skillfully and patiently taught the travelers the ins and outs of making buildings from scratch.
“There was something special about the teamwork and physically doing something, and being able to see the progress that was being made! The locals were so hard working that our group had trouble trying to keep up with them! It was an all around great bonding experience and I loved every minute of it!” ~ Tallie Letourneau
This trip had succeeded in all of its goals and had even inspired some of the people from WGSS to be involved with future Humanitarian Trips. In fact, there is an upcoming Humanitarian Trip to Guatemala during Spring Break of 2018. Be on the look out for these awesome opportunities and hope to see some of you gators join WGSS’ Humanitarian efforts!