Sorry that we didn’t post yesterday. There was a little bit of difficulty with the internet connection when we got into Siem Reap because of the rain.
Nonetheless, yesterday we were occupied with a 7 hour bus ride from Phenom Penh to Siem Reap. Before this morning there was a wide range of knowledge on the background of the killing fields and the Khmer Rouge. Some of us wrote reports about it in school, some studied it, while others didn’t know much about it at all. Despite our background knowledge or lack thereof, we all came out of the trip with a new perspective. As devastating as Cambodia’s history has been, it is quite the privilege to work with such vigilant and vibrant people. Walking down the street and even as we ride in our tuk tuks, everyone is very friendly. It is comforting to know that in a world that can be tainted by a tragic history there is still friendship and compassion among strangers.
After our history lesson filled trip we headed back to the hotel so we could gather our belongings and get ready for our bus ride to Siem Reap. It almost felt like we were arriving into Siem Reap on a first class ticket with complimentary snacks and water on the bus. Oh and the bumps along the way … free of charge. Along the journey we had one stop where a few of us decided to chow down on some crickets – yum!
There was also a rare sighting on our trip: volunteers with blankets and jackets on! As you can imagine in Cambodia it gets to be pretty hot, but our bus was fully equipped with aircon and it blasted alongside our road tunes.
Today we started at 7:30AM with eggs and toast for breakfast. Soon after we were on our way to the elephant sanctuary, which was only a two hour bus ride. The shortest trip we have taken since we left home! When we got to the sanctuary we were met by Say and Dew, two of our project leaders on the site who is going to show us the ins and outs of the sanctuary.
As we were all anxious to get to meet the two female elephants, we had one task at hand before we could have our formal introductions with them. We had to prepare their lunch which consisted of watermelon and mangoes!
While we are here we will be staying in bamboo bungalows, helping plant trees in the area, feeding elephants and even spending some time with a few monkeys.
Finally after months and months of anticipation and what seemed to be endless hours of travel we are finally here!