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Hard work in Cambodia is rewarding

I spent my spring break in Cambodia on a school trip. We got involved in a service project working to plant gardens for two small families.

The families lived in a village deep in the Cambodian countryside about 30 kilometers outside Siem Reap. These families don't have running water or electricity, and only recently a group of students built a well for them to have a clean water supply. We dug 40 holes in the dry hard earth and 20 mango trees and 20 banana trees, 20 on each farm. When we got there the earth was dry and uncompromising, the heat (about 38 degrees Celsius) and the dust were choking.

In the family gardens we dug deep lines that we planted with the seeds of the plant called morning glory, which is commonly used in Khmer (Cambodian) cooking. Doing this kind of farming was amazing for me, I liked getting my hands dirty and working directly with the people.

I got really sore and my back and hands were killing me but I feel like I could have done that work every day. It was so satisfying seeing what we did, it made it all worth it as I looked back at this garden with it's blue fence surrounding it. When you get into that space, where you forget about the dust and the sweat and you just work, everything works together and feels right.

Article by Nina Wang (right), a WISS student


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