'For Adventures of a lifetime'

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Distress Then Relief (Day 7)

Today we all woke up once again to the lights turning on at 0500hrs. Music was on this time but no Johnny Cash but thanks to our completely straight leader we had woke up to some nice Bruno Mars... Yesterday we all woke up with ease and thought 5:30am isn’t that bad but this morning waking up again did not agree with our bodies. (Ed. Perhaps it’s all that work you’ve been doing ;-))

We were all ready by about 5:45am but still very tired. After a quick meeting we were all off for breakfast for some more chicken. We were all excited for another session of painting, with a minor issue, all the girls’ clothes were wet from the night before, and apparently they were even wetter than when they put them on the night before, silly girls :-) (Ed. Yeah Jayson perhaps its better to do the man thing lol.....see Quote of the day later in Blog) . So we all got in our painting gear and started on our 3 and a half hours of painting.

Zac, Patrick and Nathan thought it would be a great idea to sing ‘99 bottles of beer on the wall’, and then sing ’ I know a song that will get on your nerves’ then once again sing ‘99 bottles of beer on the wall’, luckily everyone decided to gang up on them with paint because we were sick of it once they got to about 34. I think when we all were pretty much sick of painting, well we got through it by 10:30am it was time for lunch and we decided after lunch we were going to take a nice long walk to the markets to get some nice refreshing coke instead of the horrible water here.

We all geared up. Got our hats, slopped some sunscreen on and prepared for a walk only to realise that a nice drink shop was right outside the gates. After Charlee having various amounts of bug throwing competitions with the locals, I think the 3 year olds had a better arm than Charlee did :S we walked back had a nice game of volley ball, some napped and others just sat around and talked. We are all loving this naptime idea and definitely thinking of about incorporating it into Australia, so just for all you guys at home it’s about 11:30 to 1 so keep that in mind ;-)(

So the plan was as yesterday a group would paint for another two hours and teach some kids English while the others painted for an hour and then visited the nursery and preschoolers, playing duck duck goose and the big bad wolf, obviously we picked the kids up and ran for them. But my group today was to teach the kids English, me Zac and Mikayla were all teaching the kids but by the looks of it and the spelling it looked like the kids should have been teaching Zac English. (Ed. I’m pleased Jayson has mentioned

After that we all played some basketball very very sweaty in this heat (Ed. Good jungle training ). By the time it was dinner we had some nice freshly cooked chicken and all the little girls were laughing at us, wasn’t quite sure but now I think it was my sweaty back and they were all picking on me (ED. Don’t worry parents I won’t let him get picked on too much hahahhahaha). Dinner is always fulfilling and the kind ladies are always nice, even if they are picking on us. After that we had played some more basketball by then I think the court would’ve grazed away about 1cm of skin. Also the wrestles with this one child, we had something ha-ha a little rivalry especially how his always beating me in blackjack.

Also out of context. There was a group of 19 girls going to Phnom Penh for a regular doctors check up, and it all went wrong, without realising until later that had left one of the kids behind, a young girl of 6 years and very shy.

After realising and going into Phnom Penh and finding the girl in the markets she made got home safely but unhappy. Luckily everyone is safe here and the orphanage has passed another happy and safe day which concludes. SMMC World Challenge blog for the day. (Ed. This was a very stressful day today for all concerned....John Tucker was up with us a 0500hrs to travel back to Phnom Penh to check the markets, bus stations and the hospital where they had taken the little girl originally. Fortunately one of the staff at the hospital had taken the girl in overnight and dropped her at the police station in the morning. When the girl returned to the orphanage she was still extremely upset but everyone here breathed a sigh of relief. In real terms if a child goes missing in Cambodia, especially if she is a fair skinned Vietnamese girl, one tends to jump to certain conclusions. I.e. She had been snatched and sold to a sex trafficker.

Jayson Irvin

Quote of the day: While sitting in a foot bath of Mum's Soda Crystals....Zac and Jayson profess "Its not gay to share a 'Man' bath with a fellow (male) challenger".....(Ed. They kept on repeating this for some reason lol)

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Love that chicken (Day 6)

This morning I woke up to a burst of sunlight blaring over my eyes and the song ‘’ring of fire by Johnny cash ‘’ I was told multiple times to get up out of my bed which seemed to be at least 100 degrees with the mosquitoes net around me. I got up to be greeted by the rest of the World Challenge crew, and none of them looked as vibrant or as clean as the day we arrived in Cambodia by the time I actually had the chance to sit down I was told by Jane to get up because we were about to go to breakfast so I put my shoes on and then walked at least 300 meters to our kitchen cluster which is old yellow. I sat down where all of the little girls who are deceivingly old the nice ladies brought our food out and it was relatively cold because we were late Jayson then said what we were all thinking which was that we needed to get to breakfast on time, for breakfast we had the same we have every morning which was a nice healthy portion of rice, chicken and fruit. (Ed. The food is very good guys....have we mentioned that before? Lol)

After breakfast we walked back to the communal area to have a discussion about the painting that we would be doing throughout the day, which as I was about to find out, extremely exhausting. When we got to the blue cluster (which is a set of 3 dorms and a large kitchen) we were surprised to see Marley ( a local lady helping us) and she was holding a bag full of at least 10 brand new rollers.

Nathan, who was group leader for the day had decided to divide us into groups of three which in the end was way more effective, I was stuck with Michaela and Jayson we were in a room 3 by 3 for an hour singing any song we could remember from Savage Garden to Outkast.

After painting we went to have lunch which was rice and noodles while we were at lunch we saw for the first time that some of the children are actually catholic and like to pray before there meal we did not understand what they were saying so we just put our hands together and joined in were we could.

From lunch we went to the communal area and discussed what we would be doing from then on we were told that we were welcome to go to an English class from 2pm to 3pm but only half of us would be allowed to go so then Nathan had to again decide, so my group was stuck painting for an hour whilst the other group got to listen to a bunch of Cambodian children repeatedly recite simple English words such as apple or car after the hour was up we sent Jayson to go get the other group so that we could go chill with the pre schoolers which were just the cutest Cliff who seemed like a tough British mountaineer broke down Into a little girl in front of the little kids he was building Lego castles with them and doing some reading to.

After those little kids for an hour everybody was exhausted except Jayson so we all were as quite as possible until dinner which again was chicken and rice YUMMIE.

After dinner we had agreed upon having a group meeting to discuss the highlights and lowlights of the trip so far and we were told we would be having these meetings more often, every bodies contribution was welcome and pondered on we all liked what everybody had to say and resolved a few issues from it.

On a brighter note I hope nobody is missing there child to much they will be back in only 23 days in that time they will try to jam as much of this new culture in as possible.

Quote of the day:

Kim ‘’don’t my hands look fat.’’ Written by Zac Green grammar check by Microsoft word 2010.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Meeting the little people (DAY 5)

This morning we woke up about 6:30am had breaky and organised our transport and accommodation to Siem Reap. We said our goodbyes to the hostel, called Okay Guesthouse and boarded the bus to NHCC, the bus ride took about an hour the traffic was horrible it seems like they have no road rules and drive anywhere. We were all very excited but also really tired driving past all the different sceneries taking photos and watching this really strange movie about vampires but they didn’t fly they jumped? Anyways when we arrived at NHCC (New Hope Cambodia Children) the kids were in school so it was quite empty, we were shown our dorms and the bathrooms which basically have this huge tiled reservoir to use for a shower we have to tip a small bucket of water from the reservoir and pour over ourselves. (So no proper showers)

We met the owner of the orphanage John Tucker who gave us a tour of the little community, John was a successful business man who lived in America and decided one day to give up everything and open an orphanage for children suffering from HIV Aids. This place is the only organisation in Cambodia for children living with HIV. After his story we straight away wanted help and were offered the opportunity to paint one of the building which a family live in. Of course we said yes and started painting, 2 and half hours later it hit 4pm. End of school for the kids, they poured out of the building and words cannot describe how beautiful natured these kids are, they were adorably cute hugging us, picking them up, photos, hand games, nursery rhymes, ball games and of course lots and lots of cuddles! Everyone was so moved by them wanting to keep playing they have a never ending run of energy and once you show your not scared of them they constantly want contact and attention from you, Everyone kept saying they just want to adopt them all! (Ed. Erh Sarah I think that was you!!! ;-)) John is running a very well oiled organisation here and everyone is so well kept and happy. He also has a huge chicken coup and a pig farm and uses the pig’s poo to create gas which save the community around $600 per year. Once it hit 6pm the kids have to take their medication, 6 in the morning and 6 at night, they all also go to bed at 8:30pm as we are planning to, since we are getting up at 5am!!!!!
Just to reassure everybody we are having an awesome blast and enjoying our new experiences and new friendships Ed. Awh thanks Sarah ;-), missing everyone at home dearly but just think we’ll see you in 26 days {-)

Love - Sarah Thompson.

Ed. We have decided to have a quote of the day as I did with my previous group; ironically today’s quote of the day comes from Sarah herself:

While sitting at the dinner table this evening Sarah was recounting her experiences with the children and telling us all how lovely they were......”They are so cute I could cuddle the bum out of them” hahahaha :-)


Sunday, 27 November 2011

Tragedy, Tyranny and Tourism (Day 4)

Today was the most exciting day of this trip after getting over the fact that I miss my family so bad it was the best day because it was the first day we were actually able to go and explore Cambodia.

After breakfast this morning we travelled (IN TUK TUK’s) to the S.21 Museum. This was a depressing but an informative historical visit that filled us all with a lot of sadness. The information we received about the S.21 museum in Phnom Penh shocked us all and left us wondering how could such genocide, even more so as it was done by Cambodian people?. Seeing people with scars to their faces and missing limbs shows us all how lucky we are back in Australia. We soon got back in our Tuk Tuk’s and travelled to the ‘Killing fields’. Again this was a very memorable and heartfelt experience never to be forgotten. A few hours later we went to a nice little restaurant a grabbed a bight to eat.


Travelling back from the Killing fields and lunch we briefly stopped at the markets and got this cool little feather thing that you kick to each other. So when we went back to the hostel we decided to go and try out our feather toy at a park. We were all so bad at it. All the local were walking past laughing at us. Some little children were nearby who were adorable, so we asked them to join in our game. BUT SUDDENLY a huuuugeeeee Aerobics class started up so we went and joined. It was the BEST fitness ever and it was free. After loosing about 25kg from dancing we had a rest by a water fountain when all of a sudden lights appeared in the water. It was a massive water fountain, light and music show. It was SPECTACULAR:-), We have never seen anything like it. Here we met a young girl walking around by herself, Cliff started taking some photos of her when we discovered that she wasn’t a very good model for photo shoots because she kept putting her hands over her eyes.

The team decided it was time for dinner so again we hopped on our trusty Tuk Tuk’s and headed out. OMG the food was amazing :D . After dinner we went down to the river and met some lovely locals who were trying to sell us books, finally we decided it was time to head back to the hostel, so after a hi five and thumbs up from the little kids we headed back for an early rise in the morning to head off on our project.

Written by Charlee Cremerius and Kiara McMahon :-) love and miss our families xxooxxoo <3

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Hello Cambodia! –Amreeta Bhuller and Michaela Butler (Day 3)

Michaela: Canberra to Melbourne-- Okay, so I bet you are all reading this blog already because you miss us all oh so much ;) (Ed. I know its so true, its so much harder for the parents)

but the truth is (and I’m sure I’m speaking for everyone) we are all missing you too (Ed....Hmmm??? )... after the long and boring talks and activities that had taken place on build up day followed by the social pizza dinner, you were there to say goodbye, but it’s what happened after that which I am sure you are interested to hear about, we made it to the airport on time with some to spare, we were first people on the plane because we were just that keen to hop on, although I found out shortly after that no keen attitude was going to deny my travel sickness of its victory)

Amreeta: Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur—

Our arrival in Melbourne was a sure way to start the realization process. We spent most of our time queuing up from line to line and got bored of the whole concept QUICK! There wasn’t much to see or do, as our timing at the airport was quite late and a little rushed.

Our flight was designed to help us rest up and get semi-prepared for our big, oncoming day. However the squished up seats and less than pleasurable surroundings made it mission impossible to get a solid nights rest. But nonetheless, anticipation was continually building at a rapid rate!

P.S. the food at the Asia Airways (Kuala Lumpur) airport was delicious!!
Michaela: Kuala Lumpur to Cambodia:

The airport was air-conditioned and by this point we didn’t know what to expect when we walked out of the terminal and on to the tar mat. We were quietly complimenting people on their sweat moustache, It was hot, it was humid and it most importantly sticky, (and stinky) as we had expected BUT what we hadn’t expected was for rain to being to fall as soon as we had got to our plane seats. Speaking of plane seats, we were became more aware of the language barrier when poor Nathan had his seat temporarily stolen by some rude people that pretended not to understand us and refused to show us the ticket or tell us their seat number, after giving up (quickly, due to the lack of sleep) we had asked the stewardess to help us out and it was sorted, although we got some pretty wicked evil stares. We experienced turbulence most the way, but it only makes for a better story to tell you when we get home.

Amreeta: arriving in Cambodia:

After finally getting the chance to meet Cliff, and a lovely 9 hour wait, we were on our way! :D

This is when the surreal aspect of the whole trip began creeping up on each individual in similar ways. The fact that after a very long period of time, we actually made it to Cambodia, was such a joyous fact!

Our arrival in Cambodia could not have been friendlier. I doubt that any of us could even begin to imagine exactly how much of poverty lies on these streets. But the bus ride, from the airport to the hostel, seemed to give us an overview of the developing world poverty. It was a very big culture and general shock as the appreciation factor began kicking in on us. The stories, the experiences and the sights are only something that can be explained through the telling of our trip. :-)

Michaela: our night stroll down by the river-

After a sleepless but exiting couple of days, we were pretty tiered by the time we got to dinner on our first night in Cambodia. Lack of sleep, the heat (maybe a little dehydration [my mum is going to have some serious talks to me about that when I get home, I’m sure of it :P ]) and my sick stomach I was not very keen, although by the time we had all finished our meals at our lovely hostel we were all ready for a walk down by the shore.

Playing soccer with the local boys- night 1

After taking a photo with the boys (shown below) we were heading home. Jane Davidson had asked the little boy (in the front with the bouquet of flowers) “where is your mum?” he replied “she is dead” my heart goes out to these people because I cannot imagine the trauma they experience in their life, I realise how lucky I am already.

Picture of the group and the local soccer boys- night 1

Amreeta: “I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone on this trip, we love you and miss you heaps and can’t wait to see you and tell you about this soon-to-be life changing experience! Xoxo <3 ”

Michaela: Miss you all so much! Thank you all for giving us this opportunity that will we never experience again. I’m look forward to every next moment and taking in absolutely everything!

love love love love love!!! :-) xoxoxox  (Ed. Parents please remember its easy to share the blog....either copy the address above or click on the appropriate button)

Friday, 25 November 2011

KL in a day an international attack!!!!(Day 2)

Waking up this morning I knew I was in for a busy and hectic day....KL (the best bits) in a day was the plan. I knew about a free walking tour starting at 10.30 at the nearby market so was quite happy to have a relatively easy morning. Having a mixed up body clock (I was awake from 03.00 – 06.00) didn’t help much. However, it was during breakfast up on the roof top of the hostel I made friendship with two lovely ladies. Ann from Dublin and Jumunji from Lithuania seemed to have similar plans and so we joined forces. The girls had just arrived in KL too so were open to a little gentle persuasion with the plan.

We started the day with a free tour around China Town. Unlike most so called ‘free’ tours this one actually was. Leng our guide is passionate about the local heritage, unfortunately not many people in KL are. Her aim was to bring awareness to many of the hidden treasures (buildings, restaurants, temples etc) which could potential draw in more money to the area. A great idea! We benefitted by getting our bearings and identifying a place (traditional local style) to eat later.

Ann and Jamanji tried their hardest to look interested during the tour....only kidding ladies but I think your mind was on what was to come later in the day and the ice cream we planned to eat . The adventurous road crossings helped keep things exciting but we managed to take in a large amount of China town, a bit of Little India and a few temples. Having an opportunity to experience a little bit of the local area and its people made this short tour well worthwhile.

Following the tour we made our way to one of the restaurants to have a bite of traditional food all served on banana leafs or steel school type trays. Not entirely sure about what we should (had) order we were not disappointed by what arrived. All the food was washed down with a can of a locally produced soda drink ‘Kickapoo’ yes its true folks they have a soda called ‘Kick a Poo’ lol....this was very much like Sprite but yellow in colour.

The next plan was to visit the Petronas Towers, the largest twin towers in the world and I believe the 4th highest building in the world. We were hoping to get tickets to walk across the sky bridge but upon arrival realised it was closed for maintenance...this however, did not spoil the amazing view of the towers themselves. Stunning architecture along with sound engineering make this a truly awe inspiring sight. Due to the closure of the sky bridge we decided to give the KL tower (5th highest building in the world) a checking out. Again this did not disappoint with absolutely spectacular view over the entire KL city and a unique view of the Petrona towers. As part of the entrance fee to the tower you could opt for 3 benefit activities....Animal World, Simulated F1 and a pony ‘trek’. Unfortunately for me the maximum weight for the ponies was 75kg (I just missed out there ;-)) so had to opt for the F1. The girls were so excited with their choice of pony trekking....I even hung around to snap a few photos before going for my ‘F1 experience’. To say that all of us were disappointed with our activities was an understatement...the girls did two laps of a concrete road distance 40 metres!!!!
From the KL Tower we walked to Time Square (30mins). A HUGE shopping mall! For those that know it, similar to the Metro centre in Gateshead except in one large building with around 10 floors. Time Square also has the largest indoor theme park and roller coaster in Malaysia...well it would be rude not to...a decision I was to regret a little later. I’m good with fast adrenaline rides but bad with spinning rides....’Dizzy Izzy’ did me in and after the second run around the roller coaster I was literally green around the gills. Horrible!!!! Ice cream helped!!!

An ice cold beer finished off what was a fab day of touristy things and even settled my stomach ...honest!!! The day was shared with two great girls...who I feel must have been laughing about my lack of ability to deal with spinning rides. Nice to meet you both :-).

Thursday, 24 November 2011

China Town KL Malaysia Day 1

Ok here goes....the start of another new and exciting adventure. Arrived in KL 7+ hours ahead of the UK at 3.30pm this afternoon. First impressions are that it’s a very modern city with a bit of this and that thrown in for good luck. From the airport it was very easy to get into KL Sentral (no thats not a spelling mistake )via the KLIA Express train (£30.00 return) ...30 mins and you are in amongst it. I decided to get a cab to the hostel which cost about £2.50. So all in all its quite cheap getting around and as with most of these type of countries IT ALL DEPENDS ON HOW COMFORTABLE YOU WANT TO TRAVEL.

After dropping my bags at the relatively comfortable hostel I couldn’t wait to get out for a little explore...The area surrounding is a busy hub of markets, selling mainly touristy type stuff but also offering an insight to many of the wondrous fo ods available in this part of the world.

Being here by myself is a little strange as I would normally have a large group in tow....they fly in from Oz on the 26th and actually I’m looking forward to meeting them (I have to say that the parents are going to start and read the blogs soon ;-) hahahahah)....reflecting on what I do as a job....I think this is where I get my job satisfaction....I love sharing these little adventures with others (groups) and I’m sure we are all better people after them . Here’s to a positive life changing Adventure of a Lifetime.