Journeys Within has given me an incredible opportunity to travel much differently than I have before. I have been fortunate to understand the culture from the Khmer people themselves. Rather then being limited to the privilege of guided tours and hotel views, I have been introduced to the real side of Siem Riep.
One of my favorite moments of this trip, and probably one of the greatest moments of my life, was when I was taken to see the water wells of the Clean Water Project. I was taken by one of the university scholarship students riding on the back of her motorbike. Having never ridden on a bike before, I thought I would be a bit apprehensive about getting there. Yet, not one moment did I feel unsafe. Feeling the cool air as we rode for about an hour on the countryside was an amazing sight that most tourists don’t get the chance to see. I couldn’t believe that just days before I was sitting at home in the U.S. We drove far from the main town where tourists tend to stay. Although the village that we went to had rarely seen foreigners around their area, they still welcomed us with open arms and big smiles.
I was able to see about six of the water wells that JWOC had installed within the last month. Providing clean water to communities that normally drink and cook with water invested with bacteria and waterborne disease, JWOC has given new life to these people. The scholarship students as well as the staff are so dedicated to not only the work they do, but the people they serve. Their open hearts are evident in their commitment and it’s no surprise Journeys Within continues to succeed. I hope they continue to change the face of tourism.