With more and more villages in Cambodia requesting our services, we increasingly value the support we get from short term volunteers in Cambodia. In this capacity, you would be involved in one or more of the following activities:
The work you will do is almost entirely manual labor that is done outdoors, and some tasks are more physically demanding than others. While these laborious activities are perhaps not the most glamorous work, it is important work and vital to Trailblazer Foundation fulfilling our mission. If volunteering with Trailblazer sounds like a great opportunity, but you still have questions about the experience, we encourage you to read through our Introduction to Volunteer Opportunties With Trailblazer Foundation and Volunteer Protocols for more details.
If you are interested in a short term volunteer stint with Trailblazer in Cambodia, please contact Chris Coats, our Co-Founder and Executive Director. Provide the dates you are interested in volunteering, and any other details about your travel plans, lodging, and visit to Siem Reap that you think would be valuable.
John is from the city of Durham, North Carolina in the USA. In October 2018 he spent a week volunteering at Trailblazer in Siem Reap, helping make bio-sand water filters. John chatted with our new Board member Justine Auton on his final day on the project.
Justine: John, thanks for the great contribution you’ve made this week! Tell me, how did you come to volunteer for Trailblazer?
John: I found out about the project a couple of years ago from someone who used to work for Trailblazer. She told me about it in the best way – at a poolside bar! I was in Siem Reap at that time working on a Habitat for Humanity project, so I was interested to talk to other people involved in community development. It was kismet really – I got to talk to someone in the know at a time my interest in Siem Reap was growing. I was horrified to hear about how people in the villages were getting water, the poor quality of the water and the health impacts of that water on them.
Justine: Why did you turn that interest into action?
John: I guess it stuck in my mind and I decided that at some point I wanted to come and do something to help. I was interested to find out how they (Trailblazer) do what they do in creating bio-sand water filters. What even were bio-sand water filters?!
Justine: It sounds like you’re not new to this volunteering business – what have you done and why?
John: In my younger days I saw some terrible, just terrible poverty at home in Appalachia and it motivated me to get involved with volunteering programmes while I was in college. I suppose that experience stuck with me as in recent years I’ve been involved with Habitat for Humanity and worked on nine projects overseas.
Justine: What have you got out of volunteering with Trailblazer and your wider volunteering experiences?
John: The Trailblazer work was interesting. Learning about the simple and effective “technology” of bio-sand water filters was great. I also got to spend time in a village helping to install the filters and saw first hand the living conditions of people. It reminded me of the Appalachian area at home and it felt good to do something to help.
More generally, volunteering has taught me a lot about myself – things I wish I’d known in my professional life. My big take away is to “go with the flow”. Don’t get hung up on the details. Be flexible. I’ve learned to be patient. I was NEVER Mr Patient!