Last June, members of the Rossland Interact and Trail Interact Club embarked on an unforgettable journey to Cambodia. Because Interact is a non-profit club for high school students with an aim to create good international relationship and understanding, various members went on this international trip to volunteer at orphanages and schools. There, our club was able to interact with the children and do some hands-on work, like repainting walls. Below are what some of the Rossland Interact members that went wrote about their own personal experience on the trip.
“Volunteering in Cambodia was an eye opening and heart warming experience. Even when you were covered in sweat and wishing you were in your own bed, the smiling faces of the children made it more than worth it. Knowing that our work will be with the children was valuable, and having the great memories that came along with it, will make this a trip that is remembered by all of us that went and all the people we met. Their daily life is much different than ours, much poorer, but they never let that get to them and were so proud to show us how they lived. I will remember this trip for the rest of my life; the children’s smiling faces and Cambodia’s vast culture are unforgettable.”
“Cambodia was an amazing experience I will always hold close to my heart. Being able to connect with the people in Cambodia was an amazing opportunity to broaden my mindset and become a more globally aware person. Like everyone else that went, I found it really taught me to be so thankful of what I have in a way no other experience really could. It is hard to really understand why it is important to preserve water and things like that until you have powerful memories to relate to. I hope that the Rossland Interact Club will be able to get this much support from the community in future years so kids like me have the chance to go on an amazing trip like I did.”
“My favorite part of visiting Cambodia was meeting all the different people and learning about the culture there. It’s very eye opening to see the way some people have to live, and rewarding to be able to work with them. Some don’t have a proper home or are forced to beg at the side of the road. Coming home after experiencing that has made me think more about all the things I used to take for granted like clean and hot water, and being able to afford health care, among other things. Sometimes I might forget and no longer think about how privileged I really am, but it only takes a couple of seconds to remember, and to think about the life and culture in Cambodia.”
Maddi Vockeroth Fisher:
“While visiting Cambodia I learned a great deal about how others live and interact with each other. Helping in the schools by teaching children and painting, brought so much joy to the kids and myself. It was an amazing and life changing experience that I am so grateful I got to be a part of. Learning about, and seeing the everyday struggles that so many people have to deal with all the time, made me want to help every bit more. Now that I’m back I feel so thankful for what I have, and just want to keep helping those who can’t help themselves, or who aren’t as lucky as myself.”
“Cambodia was an experience that I can never forget. Seeing the struggles that people go through in Cambodia made me want to help out so much more. From helping them learn english to painting and playing soccer, working with the children in the orphanages was an amazing experience. Cambodia opened my eyes and gave me a greater understanding of how the world works, and it helped me see the importance of education. A little help can be stretched so far there, and a little money helps out in so many ways—just a fresh coat of paint on a school helps attract donors which can bring in much needed funds to buy pencils, paper, games, and computers. This trip was memorable and I will never forget the sights and people of Cambodia.”
past teacher sponsor:
“This was the fourth Interact international volunteer trip I have organized and chaperoned, and I am struck by both the differences from and similarities with our previous ventures. The most obvious difference was that we travelled to Cambodia, where none of us had been. The other is that it included members from both Rossland and Trail Interact Clubs, providing a wonderful opportunity to see how effective and fun it can be when we collaborate.
“It was the similarities, though, that were most powerful, demonstrating, once again, that a group of young people can make a difference. And they certainly did so. They painted walls and murals in two schools and an orphanage in the blazing sun and humidity, making the buildings cleaner and more welcoming, extending the life of the cement, and giving the Cambodian students a sense of pride in their surroundings. They played, danced, ate, and talked with children and young people in a natural and positive manner wherever we went. They raised money (endlessly!) to donate to all of the projects they worked on, contributing computers, hygiene products, building supplies, and school supplies.
“I was glad I could end my years working with Interact on such a positive note. Each of the students were respectful of the Cambodian culture and people, responsible, open to new ideas and experiences, and an excellent ambassador from Interact, Rotary, the Kootenays, and Canada. They exemplified Interact’s overriding purpose: to work together in a world fellowship dedicated to service and international understanding.”
Rossland Interact would like to give a sincere thank you to everyone that supported us. Special thanks to the Nelson and District Credit Union Rossland Branch, Rossland Rotary Club, and the RSS grade seven class of 2014 for their generous grants. Finally, our amazing chaperones, Marilyn Nelson and Dan Kroeker, made our trip possible. We sincerely appreciate the level of enthusiasm from the community, and look forward to more.
Rossland Interact Club is a group dedicated to serving both the local community and international ones. Our motto is “Strengthening Communities through Service”. We are always open to new members, so feel free to drop by one of our meetings on the first and third Wednesday of every month at 6:45 p.m. at the Rossland Public Library.