Have you ever dreamed of building your own home, nestled amongst the treetops in the woodlands of Canada on stilts or perhaps a palm woven beach front hut in Thailand? Like us, you’re probably sat cosy at home with a solid roof over your head frantically pinning glorious imagery. Sadly, there are many that can’t afford to put a roof over their heads, or even sit and sleep in a house with walls. This became very apparent when travelling through Cambodia, especially in the outskirts of Siem Reap between the empty luxurious hotel developments. Luckily for the local villages and us, Reach Out Volunteers makes this dream a reality.
Organised and run by Reach Out Volunteers and the local school, my first week in Cambodia was centred around building a natural green community house and bathroom in a rural village the outskirts of Siem Reap. Day by day we worked guided by skilled locals building the structures, using mainly natural materials that were native to the area. Bamboo and dried palm leaves are incredibly strong, and thick wooden posts and planks helped to reinforce the walls and form the floor.
Our sweat, a huge about of incredible teamwork, strength, patience from the local villagers and somewhat questionable dance moves went into this self build that was to form a central hub for the local village to plant, cook, socialise, learn in and also act as a form of shelter for those that are homeless that so often pass through the village. We also ate, worked and danced at the local school, helping improved the children’s vital English skills.
I was welcomed into the village community with open arms and can’t wait to go back to see how they are getting on. If you dream of creating something wonderful with your bare hands, and want to help better the lives of others, this truly is a great way to do it. Go on, volunteer.