In the summer of 2008, I spent three weeks in Siem Reap with Journeys Within Our Community. Working as a member of an eight-person team, I volunteered with a number of JWOC projects, including the Clean Water Project, the Village Microfinance Fund, and the English Language schools provided by JWOC at Wat Thmei and Wat Chork. The Journeys Within Our Community program afforded me the opportunity to explore a foreign country, immerse in a culture far removed from my own, and meet an exciting and motivated group of people, while at the same time participating in a rewarding and productive volunteer project. During my time with JWOC, I participated in one of the most innovative and exciting projects I could have imagined, a complete immersion in the nearby
While living in Veal Village, my group was tasked with conducting oral hygiene training, an extremely rewarding project as we distributed toothbrushes and toothpaste provided by another JWOC contributor, and taught the village children how to brush their teeth, hopefully instilling a beneficial life-long habit. In addition, with the help of our interpreters, we walked throughout the village, talking to dozens of families and almost one hundred school-age children. We conducted a survey designed to gauge interest in free English classes at the new
In addition to an interesting and rewarding volunteer experience, JWOC provided a great overall Cambodian experience. The staff and all of the personnel were extremely helpful, Jesse and Melissa were awesome to work with, providing direction and resources while still allowing the eight of us to work together to solve complex problems and work to improve the JWOC projects. The scholarship students, interpreters, and especially the monks at Wat Chork were all incredible, and working with all of them made the trip one of the best experiences I have had. I’m excited to see what is in store for JWOC in the future, with such a solid foundation I believe they will continue to be extremely successful in providing benefit to the local community and volunteers alike.
– Neil Mittel