Friday, July 27, 2012

Alex talks about his JWOC experience

Students from West Point recently came to volunteer at JWOC. In their blog posts they explain about what they did and what they learned...

I came to Cambodia having no prior experience in Asia, and didn't know what to
expect upon arrival.  The only thing I did know was that we were scheduled to
work with a small school, run by Journeys Within Our Community (JWOC).   Having
just concluded my time with their team, I could not have been more pleased.

The element that makes their endeavors successful is hope.  Cambodia may be one
of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, yet their future is full of promise.
On hand at JWOC, I could see the stages of youth development through
the examples of the students.

I participated in a small conversational English class for about a week with
some of the older students. Each had high aspirations- to be a doctor, a banker,
or a teacher.  And with JWOC's scholarship program for undergraduate studies,
these dreams were all distinct possibilities.  And each of the scholarship
students then in turn were working at the school, clean water project, or
financing project.  The positive leadership roles that they took gave them in
addition to their education, the vital experience that will allow them to lead
their communities in the future.

I also helped to create a mural of the English Alphabet for the younger students
on a wall just outside the classroom.  The children are an active and cheery
bunch, with backpacks over half as big as they are.  As we progressed with it,
we could watch their excitement brewing as the vibrant colors splashed upon the
wall. I watched them slowly sound their way through words we painted onto the
wall as examples, and knew that I had, in some small way, helped in their
education and of all the students to come.

Looking at the wall, it evidences the efforts of our group and many before us,
and the blank stretches show the ample room left for those left to come.  The
numerous wells built in the villages in addition to the one built within JWOC
also stand as a physical testament to the good will and efforts of supporters
and volunteers.

Having spent the hours between classes playing games in the yard, we were joined
by students of all ages, who were extremely inclusive. It is all smiles, and
with the help of the health education and support, they are healthy and teeming
with energy. They have a community of their own within this upcoming generation,
and it is clear that they are equipped with the help of organizations like
Journeys Within Our Community to dream a bigger future.


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