Siem Reap Day 1 – Getting our bearings
Today was the first day of our CAS trip. We were all a bit nervous because we didn’t know what to expect from the trip. However, with our suitcases loaded with snacks, we arrived at the airport, waved goodbye to our families, and headed to Siem Reap. After arriving in Cambodia, we met up with a local organization known as Indago, who will be leading us through our activities this week. They were incredibly enthusiastic and friendly, and even taught us our first Khmer word! They taught us how to say thank you in the Khmer language, which was: Arkun. This proved to be very useful later on in the day.
Indago led us to our tuk-tuks, which took us to our accommodation. During our tuk-tuk journey, we were able to see the pretty sunset and wildlife mixed with civilization. We also got our first taste of the local culture – street food, night markets; and the streets bustling with people on motorcycles.
After arriving at the hotel, we were greeted with welcome drinks and keys to our hotel rooms. The hotel rooms were really nice and all our worries before the trip dissipated – our city souls had finally been satisfied.
We quickly settled in and took the tuk-tuks again for a short trip to a restaurant called ‘Marmun’ for our first meal in Cambodia. Marmun is a non-profit organization which runs a restaurant that aims to support marginalized youth through maintaining and developing their education and other important life skills.
In the restaurant, we had an array of food, such as fried rice, vegetables, wontons, and local fruit. It was very tasty and it was nice to experience a bit of Khmer culture. With our new language skills, we thanked the restaurant staff and headed back to the hotel.
There, we quickly briefed with Indago about the rest of the week and what we will expect to see. They explained the infrastructure projects that we will expect to see in the next few days in the local village. We are excited to see how the materials and money that we have donated will be used in their ongoing projects. We have no doubt that this will be a challenging yet fun week, and we can’t wait to see what Cambodia has in store for us!
Sammi, Jessica, Ramona