Day 1: 15 Nov 2014 (Saturday)
Arrival at Chum Kiri (Cambodia)
The group arrived at the Phnom Penh International Airport in the evening and took a 2 hour bus ride to the Catholic Church of Saint Joseph in the district of Chum Kiri. The students were warmly welcomed by the villagers and members of the mission centre. After a scrumptious dinner, the students proceed to prepare the teaching materials and gifts that were required for the next day. A sudden blackout in the night did not deter the group of students from completing their task at hand.
Day 2: 16 Nov 2014 (Sunday)
In the morning, the students had the opportunity to interact and conduct a series of activities with a group of 300 children scouts. All the activities were well-executed and the students displayed great enthusiasm. After lunch, students were separated into two groups to conduct English and craft lessons in separate mission centres. A short visit to a nearby lake in the evening allowed the girls to marvel at the natural beauty of rural Cambodia.
“Today, we conducted our first lesson with the children in the mission centre. It was a very enlightening experience as we saw how grateful the children were for the little things in life, such as toothbrushes and snacks. They said “thank you” and were so appreciative of what they received. This made me reflect that I should start saying “thank you” more often, and be more appreciative of the simple things in life.
- Gillian Teo (3/4)
“I’ve gained a bunch of experience from teaching English Language and personal hygiene to the young children. I felt really blessed after giving them the gifts that we have prepared. Seeing their expressions of joy truly warms my heart.”
- Yasmeen (3/10)
“I felt grateful and thankful that I had the opportunity to meet the young children and share my love with them.”
- Kong Tin Yi (3/11)
Day 3: 17 Nov 2014 (Monday)
Students conducted English and craft lessons with the kindergarten children at the mission centre. With pre-trip preparations done in Singapore, students were able to conduct effective and engaging lessons for the children. To cater to the needs of the mission centre, the students willingly participated in a series of manual work, such as gardening and the painting of the mural and a guest house within the mission centre.
“Today’s experience was very memorable. Looking at the learning environment of the children made me realise how fortunate I am. I particularly admire the way young children practice their daily routine of serving and washing before and after meals. I realise that these values inculcated into the children will allow them to grow to become good and responsible citizens.”
- Alanya (3/1)
“I learnt that it is possible to interact with people who speak a different language. I realised that the children there are easily satisfied and contented over simple things. Their smiles never fail to brighten my day.”
- Rachel Teo (3/1)
“Interacting with the children has taught me that you don’t need to speak the same language to be able to understand one another. As long as you treat them with love and kindness, they can understand what you are trying to convey.”
- Samantha Lim (3/5)
Day 4: 18 Nov 2014
Students were separated into two groups which did mission work at different locations.
“Today, I learnt how to be grateful for the many little things we have. We went to another mission centre about 40 minutes away, and had the opportunity to interact with the children and painted one of their classrooms. After the completion of the paint work, one of the local teachers thanked us in Khmer and I noticed that she had tears in her eyes. Their contentment helped me recognise how ungrateful I was when I grumble or complain about the small things in life. I am sure we have heard of the quote, “Do little things with great love.” But not many truly understand its meaning. I only did during this trip. It is absolutely heart-warming to see how the little we did can bring such great joy to them. It makes me reflect that I have no reason to be unhappy with the standard of living I have in Singapore. I am absolutely thankful and happy that I came to Cambodia because it is truly an eye-opening experience which taught me many things in life.”
- Koh Zhi Min (3/3)
“A group of us went to the St. Peter’s Church to interact with the kindergarten children and paint the murals. It was such a joy to see the smiles on the faces of the children during our interaction. We shared so many great memories painting the murals. Father Fernando and the chief supervisor even gave us sugarcane to drink as a form of gratitude. It was a beautiful sight to see everyone’s smiling faces once the murals were completed. Father always says that if we do things out of love, all else will fall into place. Today, I felt it from the bottom of my heart that truly it’s the little things that make life great. I am certain that I’ll continue to go on mission trips after this one, not only to do things out of love and in God’s name, but to learn the true meaning of happiness and life. I aim to fully embrace life and spread the joy and wonders that come with it.
- Janine Tan (3/3)
Day 5: 19 Nov 2014
Students interacted with the kindergarten children in the mission centre and bid their farewells. After which, students separate themselves into two groups to complete the painting of mural and guest house. After the daily Mass, students presented their group posters to Father Gianluca as a token of appreciation for the hospitality throughout their stay. In return, members of the missions centre presented handmade bracelets to each student and teacher. To end the day, students were also invited to watch a Powerpoint slideshow with a compilation of photos taken by the teachers throughout this mission trip.
“I’ve learnt that simple things can actually make people very happy. Even though we had a language barrier, we would still smile at each other and try to use sign language to convey what we are trying to express. Even the smallest action of giving a sweet to a child, they would be thankful and accept it with warm smiles.”
- Victoria Yong (3/5)
“This experience has taught me to be determined and always persevere in everything I do. Through the interaction with children and wall painting, I have learnt that patience is important. I have also learnt that happiness is something that we can determine for ourselves and it depends on whether we can see and grasp it. Love is found in everything, it just depends on our ability to feel and realise it.”
- Anna Lee (3/2)
“The moment we had to say our final goodbyes to the kindergarten children, it took us a lot of effort to not cry. This experience has allowed me to bond with my peers and I’m glad to be part of this Cambodia Mission Trip.”
- Celestine Loh (3/4)
Day 6: 20 Nov 2014
Departure from Cambodia
“The last day in Cambodia taught me that being yourself, and not being afraid to make a fool of yourself is important. The children don't care how silly you look, they care about your sincerity. Sincerity comes from the ability to do things out of love, which is what Father Gianluca reminded us to do. We carried out our mission, not because we were forced to, but because we loved the children, and wanted to help them. This Cambodia Mission Trip has taught me that love is extremely powerful, and love overcomes everything.”
- Joanna Ooi (3/1)