Angie and I rejoined the team last night. The team also increased by 5 additional members, with Ann, Kristen and Abby joining the team last yesterday afternoon, and Nathan and Jorge joining us early this morning.
With the addition of 5 more team members and trips to open schools today, tomorrow and Saturday, we moved from our 25 seater bus to 8 SUV’s. Since it is wet season, the staff were concerned about the condition of the roads.
Today we headed out to Tatrei School to officially celebrate the opening of the 20th school built in Cambodian by Samaritan’s Purse Australia. This official opening ceremony opened both Tatrei School and Prey Changha School.
When the group of supporters who funded Tatrei visited earlier this year, the children had all written letters for the team and gave these letters along with small gifts, eg flowers, half a packet of chewing gum, etc, to the team. I’m not 100% sure of the exact words, but the letters all read the same, something along the lines of “Thank you for our new school. We would really love to have a library”. With generous hearts and spirits, that group of donors asked Samaritan’s Purse how much it would cost to add a library to the building and then committed to coming home and raising the additional cost…..which they did. When we opened the school this morning, they not only had a new school building, but added at the end of the building was a room specifically to be used as a library…..and the children were only too happy to show us how the library is to be used.
The villagers provided lunch for us and would not sit and eat themselves until we had finished eating.
After lunch, some of the team headed back to the hotel to rest and the remainder of the team headed over to Prey Changha for a community celebration.
After dinner and debrief the team helped pack the shoulder bags Marg, Neil & Keira had brought from The Hub Preschool to give to the kids at Bos Thom Preschool on Friday.
It was another early start today…..downstairs for breakfast at 6.00am. Today I’m rather excited as we are finally opening the Bos Thom Preschool. Bos Thom School, it’s Principal, teachers, children and community have a special place in my heart and it was an honour to be asked to speak at the official opening ceremony on behalf of Samaritan’s Purse. My friend, Margaret Livingstone, representing The Hub Preschool, had the honour of speaking on behalf of the donors, while Samaritan’s Purse staff member, Arne Olander accepted the medal on behalf of Samaritan’s Purse.
Here we have pictures of the old school building which last year was being used as a preschool, and below it is the new preschool building which the children are very excited to be able to start using now.
After lunch we visited a Church which Samaritan’s Purse helped build. This church grew out of The Greatest Journey program.
Today we opened the last of the schools for this trip, this time at Kantrong School. It was another amazing time of celebration as we celebrated with the school and the wider community.
After lunch at the Yellow Mango in Siem Reap everyone seemed ready to rest for a few hours before heading to Red Piano for dinner and then some shopping at the night markets.
Our final morning in Siem Reap saw us leaving the hotel around 6.45 am to head to Angkor Wat for some sightseeing. Angkor Wat itself is an amazing structure and as our tour guide kept reminding us, one of the Ancient Wonders of the World. My favourite temple is Ta Prohm. This is the temple where Angelina Jollie taped a scene for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, although the scene is not 100% accurate, as there is actually no corridor behind this door where we she jumps out and we posed for a team photo! The main reason this is my favourite temple is because the trees have overgrown the temple and nature is taking back. This other photo of the team shows how large some of the trees actually are.
We finally headed back to the hotel to shower and change and then eat lunch before heading to Siem Reap Airport to begin the long trek home.
It’s been an absolute pleasure and honour for me to be a part of this ministry and I am definitely going to miss the friends I have made in Cambodia, as well as the people of Cambodia who have been so gracious and generous on every trip I have been on to visit their beautiful country. Thank you all for your interest in what Samaritan’s Purse is doing in Cambodia and other developing nations. It’s been a pleasure sharing this journey with you.