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Ivanhoe Grammar School Cambodia Service Project 2023 – Day Nine Students’ Reflections

Apopo mine detected Rat visit tip

To continue from Day Eight Reflection blogging of the Ivanhoe Grammar School Cambodia Service Project 2023, this article reposting the reflections from the assigned students on their Day NINE experiences and impressions:

Team 3 Saturday by Angus D & Gursharan.

Today was a very relaxed day so as to recover from the big village trip. Today, students from all teams were given multiple options as to how they could spend their rest day, including a trip to the rat training facility for mine detection, a trip to the Cambodian wholesale markets, or a stay-at-home day at the hotel with a massage and time spent around the pool.

Some of us decided to undertake the museum tour, which included a tour guide who talked to us about the history of landmines around Cambodia, the importance of removing landmines in the country, and a display of the rats that are trained to detect TNT to 1 trillionth of a gram! We were also given the opportunity to hold some of the rats, which were surprisingly large, friendly, and cuddly. Afterwards we were given the opportunity to visit the wholesale market and a Cambodian shopping mall to look for some souvenirs.

Some of the people who decided to not take either of the tours, had a relaxed out day back at the hotel and some even choosing to go with Mr Gonzalez and Mrs Patterson for a sensual massage treatment. I was one of the people who took the opportunity to go out and get a massage, and it was one of the most memorable experiences I have made in Cambodia so far. All our sores and pains of walking all over Cambodia were vanished into thin air after the massage which made us completely refreshed for the rest of the trip. The people who decided to neither go on the tours or try the spa treatment, had a relaxing day in the pool of our beautiful hotel and just a chance to chill. When the people from the massage’s came back from the spa establishment, we all decided to spend some quality bonding time in the pool and just had some fun in the Cambodian sun.

After the people from the tours came back, we as a group went out for lunch to a more western place compared to most of the other food establishments we have eaten at. It was generally agreed that we go to Burger King and have a taste of home in comparison to the repeated meals of rice. The change in food was relieving and enjoyable for some. Overall it was a nice change in cuisine and it was relished.

For dinner tonight, we were gifted with a very large reunion of all the other teams at the Amazon Angkor restaurant. It was an amazing night in which we all got to catch up with friends from other teams, talk about their experiences in the other villages, and talk about all the amazing friends and experiences we had. We were also gifted to see some of village citizens at the dinner, which was a pleasant surprise to catch up with them all and talk about how things are back at the village. Towards the end of the dinner, we were all treated to a wonderful display of traditional Cambodian dancing, which included extravagant costumes, elegant and beautiful dancing and displays of control, and the amazing form of story telling of romance, good and evil that Cambodian dancing can display. Afterwards, we all got tuk-tuks back to our hotels and spent some time all together in the pool which was great fun.

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