Orion 2015 was an emotionally mixed cocktail of learning, forged friendships, self-discovery and an opportunity of a lifetime to extend a helping hand. Our two weeks in Prey Veng, Cambodia were spent both building a house for one of the families under the HOPE foundation, as well as teaching and spending time with the kids at HOPE Village Prey Veng. In the 15 days, we were exposed to things and activities we had never seen before in a country like Singapore. From hammering and building a house out of nothing under the sweltering hot sun to community living with one another. (and the insects that had surrounded us) -- All these experiences now kept as heartfelt memories for all of us. Yet, in the process of ‘giving’, I have come to see that often this is no one-directional occurence, with so much learnt and received from our time together with our Khmer friends both young and old. The teachers, and even the kids of HOPE village in their innocence and child-likeness taught us so much about selfless love - even though we were the ‘volunteers’ here to serve, often do we meet situations where the kids teach us what it means to ‘serve’ in the things that they did. The daily sandstorm experienced while commuting to our construction site and the struggle to fight physical and mental exhaustion was also all worth it when we see the smiles on the faces of the villagers. They say Christmas is the time of giving and receiving, and it sure could not have been any more coincidental than this trip that coincides with the season. I believe my peers, with whom I walked with on this journey, agree with me when I say that we were not just givers but receipients to this spirit of love and sharing what we have to those around us.
Mark Chang Year 1 Chemical Engineering
Published on Apr 5, 2016