The immersion group was kept busy for the duration of our time in Cambodia and there were so many different facets to the experience. We began with a hands-on project to create cement to help with the drainage around the football field. After coming from a very cold Australia, this work left us dirty and tired but with a great feeling of satisfaction. What was best about this project is that we participated with the local students and were able to start building relationships right from the outset of the immersion.
A highlight for the group was the opportunity to stay with a local Khmer family. Our young people were welcomed beautifully into the homes of local teachers from Don Bosco and were able to have a real experience of day-to-day life in Cambodia.
After spending some time during the week to learn about Cambodia’s brutal history we turned our attention to running a three-day youth leadership program. Salesian youth travelled from around Cambodia to Phnom Penh to be part of this special program. This weekend was pure fun and enjoyment as both the young Australians and Khmer deepened their understanding to what it means to be a young Salesian. The program culminated in an activity day for the school that was run by the program participants. It was incredible to see all the young people empowered to take ownership of being a young Salesian leader and to see them put this into action. Although the day was exhausting, everyone was buzzing with excitement at the end of the day for all they had achieved.
With heavy hearts and many tears, the immersion group departed from Phnom Penh to spend our final days visiting the temples in Siem Reap. We also took the opportunity as a group to reflect, debrief and pray about all that we learned and experienced. The overwhelming sentiment as we returned home was of immense gratitude.
“We are so grateful for the very special relationship that we have with the Salesians in Cambodia. And now – we have yet another group of young people who have been captured by the Salesian spirit and by the wondrous, Kingdom of Cambodia,” says Lauren Hichaaba, Director of the Cagliero Project.