Golden Week Tour Reflections
In mid-May, PEPY’s annual Golden Week tour joined us in Chanleas Dai for the opening of Preah Lean Primary School, a day at the temples with 4th grade students, school painting, lively evening English classes, and impromptu dinner-table concerts. Read on for reflections from trip participants Aileen Cameron and Wayne Bault.
Wayne: The Golden Week Tour in May 2009 really gave me an appreciation of what an enormous task NGOs and in particular PEPY have in working with local communities within a foreign culture. The trip experience for me was extraordinary, in that we were able to experience a part of Cambodia that so few tourists get to see within a short period of time.
Aileen: The first day of our tour threw us right into the heart of what PEPY is all about: taking part in the opening ceremony of the new Preah Lean Primary School. Seeing the effect that PEPY has had within the community of Chanleas Dai and the ways in which it continues to support the students and take them through their primary and secondary education really left us feeling inspired for the week ahead.
Meeting the students of Chanleas Dai and spending time with them at the temples, at school, and in their classes was a real honour, and great exposure to how the wonderful programs which PEPY has implemented over the past five years are empowering these children to start making changes in their own lives.
Wayne: On the tourism side, we always felt that we were supporting a worthwhile cause or supporting a local community with a responsible attitude. The amount of involvement with the PEPY schools made me want more time to stay in Cambodia, and offer any assistance I could. My way of thinking has been changed in that I realize whole cultures have been affected by corrupt regimes, which were largely ignored for too many years. I want to now work with foreign cultures through NGOs and other organizations so that aid to these people can be instigated earlier and if possible highlight humanitarian courses that would require external attention at the earliest opportunity.
Aileen: Of course, we also had plenty of opportunities throughout the trip to learn about the culture and history of this amazing country, and find favorite spots for ourselves and meet amazing people, who hopefully we will all be able to go back and visit someday.
If you haven’t already, join PEPY in Cambodia this year! We have two new trips planned for August, and we’re also planning a repeaters trip exclusively for past participants and supporters. Stay tuned to www.pepytours.com to find out more!