Thursday, 11 February 2016

Must-Do's in Phnom Penh From Newcastle Nursing

PROGRAM: UniBreak Groups
PROJECT: University of Newcastle Nursing Placement
WRITTEN BY: Molly Batinic

Last week in Cambodia, and we have ticked almost everything off of our bucket lists, plus some. We not only saw the last of the kids at PIO and started work at a new school, we also took our long weekend as an opportunity to explore Siem Reap … And it was worth every minute! The top 5 must-do’s of the week are almost all in this incredible city. 

 First of all, no one can miss the chance to see Angkor Wat, more specifically, at sunrise. From the history, to the beauty of this famous landmark, it was a fantastic way to start our Siem Reap adventure. After a long day of exploring that and many more temples, we decided to hit up Pub Street. And yes, it is exactly as the name suggests. We ate delicious food and danced the night away with both locals and tourists on our first night away from Phnom Penh. However, after an excellent, but long first day there, it was time to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Kulen Mountains. This involved three different stops on our tour, including a visit to the big Buddha, a hike along the underwater carvings river and finally a swim in the ever so enchanting waterfalls. It was simply magnificent! Next on the list is a visit to the Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital for an amazing and eye-opening Saturday night. Due to this chain of hospitals in Cambodia, millions of children’s lives have been saved that would not have without sufficient treatment.

And finally, our last to do for this week is based in Phnom Penh, however it is most certainly not for everyone. As we have been enjoying supporting the many dining-for-a-cause restaurants in Cambodia, we decided to continue this and have dinner at ‘Dine in the Dark.’ The idea is to be placed in the same shoes as a visually impaired local and eat a 3-course meal whilst having no idea of what you're actually eating. Like I said, it's definitely not for everyone. However, it was a great experience and although not all agreed, some of us girls would most certainly go back again.

Now onto the work part … We didn't quite manage to get through all of the 500+ kids at PIO, but we came extremely close and a everyone put in a huge effort. Although, our last day at the school was a bittersweet one and a few sneaky tears were shed whilst saying goodbye to all of these delightful children. But lucky for us, we were onto a new a school, where the children were just as wonderful. Chibodia is an afternoon school where children from the countryside can go to learn English, sewing and computers. We did basic health checks here, as well as educating the children about proper hygiene standards, which they absolutely loved! On our own time, some of us girls also visited a school in which one of our translators volunteers for, which teaches English and computers on an island just outside of Phnom Penh. It is called the Coconut School and it has changed the lives of many children and broadened their minds and futures, which will indefinitely change the future of Cambodia for the better.

We now have one more school to attend and get through as many kids there as possible, before we say our final goodbyes and leave this incredible country. You could say, we are feeling quite sad about this prospect already!

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