Flying through the trees at Jombok Hoas
PEPY team members and 21 scholarship students recently returned from 5 days of adventure learning at Jombok Hoas, in Prear Vihear province. Jombok Hoas translates to ‘flying through the trees’ and that is exactly what they did!
Set amongst dense forest, Jombok Hoas offers a diverse range of activities that work towards; increasing self confidence, finding creative solutions to problems, assisting others, working as a team, improving communication, and building trust.
The activities challenged everyone to push through their fears and doubts and find self belief to successfully complete each one. Everyone participated in all the activities even though their heart was racing and palms were sweaty. The program starts slowly on day one, introducing participants to activities that are low to the ground, building up to the grand finale on the last day of the 600m zipline from a height of 21 meters.
The forest setting was very peaceful, surrounded by tall trees with Muntjacs freely wondering around close to camp. All the buildings were made of wood. Accommodation was wooden cabins with mattresses on the floor with mosquito nets. Daily showers were taken in the outside bathroom, which was an area partitioned off around two wells.
Work was completed in two groups, each taking turns to complete all the activities. After each activity, a discussion was held to reflect on what was learned. Students spoke about the value of the knowledge and how they could improve their life by applying it to work and home situations. Activities and challenges were based around six principles: listen and watch, you must participate, ‘I Can Do It’, communication, be creative in your solutions, and collaborate.
Staff from Jombok Hoas are highly experienced in facilitating all the activities and had participants safety as a priority. A lot of the time was spent in safety harnesses attached to a cable swinging from trees. The activities were a lot of fun and challenging at the same time.
The high adrenaline activities were: Gibbon Swing, whereby you climbed a 19m tree, leaped from the platform to grab a swing, then after a few swings you let go to come down via the cable. Some students and staff chose to hang upside down for their decent. This activity pushed many out of their comfort zone and created the self belief ‘I Can Do It’, which was the mantra of the camp. The Giant Swing thrilled many and was feared by others. The 200m and 600m zipline was enjoyed by everyone. The view of the forest was amazing. An abseil down a 20m tree was new experience for many and the Slippery Snake involved walking barefoot up a slippery log while secured in a harness and not using your hands for assistance. It had rained recently and the log was extra slippery, many finding it extra challenging to take the last few steps. In every activity staff and students supported each other and encouraged everyone to push through their fears.
PEPY team members and scholarship students learned many life skills from the activities that they can take into their study and work environment and share with family members. They felt they have a better understanding of themselves and just how strong they are to face new challenges and succeed even when it looks really difficult.
“I had a great experience. I learned so much from it” Scholarship student Lek
“The giant swing was the most challenging part. I learned a lot about teamwork and had a fantastic experience” Scholarship student Serey