After a month and a half of being a hermit crab, studying for the MCAT, I had the amazing opportunity to go the Kingdom of Cambodia with eleven others from all ages, backgrounds, and levels of goofiness. As you can tell, I might have brought a little extra goofiness to the table.
It was a BUSY 12 days there and it absolutely changed my life forever. Rahab’s House (a former brothel) is in the village of Svay Pak, and functions as a Boy’s and Girl’s Club type of community center. My favorite thing there was Kid’s Club, which was a time for about 100 (some days 200) little Khmer children between the ages of 4 and 12 to dance, sing, get a snack, and hangout. That place gets very hot, humid, noisy, and smelly- and words don’t do any justice to how fun it was.
The kids just melted my heart and brought me to tears so many times. Yet, the smiles, laughter, and pure fun don’t do any justice of how amazing this was until we saw many of the kids go home for lunch and come back in the afternoon with new beat marks on them from their parents. We were told that many of these children were still being sold for sex by night. That just tugged on my heart. These kids taught me so much and I am forever grateful.
This trip was the toughest time of my life with all kinds of emotional roller coasters each day. I am sure many of those who have been to a third world country can add something to this, but the food, transportation, cities, toilets, water, language, writing, poverty, values, and beliefs are just so drastically different compared to America. It took a little time to get used to. I know that I made some life-long friends, and I hope to go back next year. This experience taught me more in twelve days than all my years in college combined.