Reflections From 9,152 Miles (14728.72km) Away

Reflections from 9,152 miles (14728.72km) away

17 Global Village volunteers from Habitat Wake County has built 2 wooden houses for Cheng Mao and Savoeun’s families in Preak Takeo Village, Samrong Thom Commune, Keansvay District. Here is the testimonial of Ms. Sarah Adams, Director of Communications, Habitat for Humanity of Wake County.

Reflection is an odd word. It has two, almost opposite, definitions. It means to cast back an image or light on the surface without absorbing it. Also, it means to give serious and deep thought or consideration to something.

In January 2019, seventeen coworkers — we now all consider ourselves family — from Habitat for Humanity of Wake County traveled over 9,000 miles from Raleigh, NC USA to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On the surface, traveling there was about seeing a new place, and in our case, giving back a little bit. But, deeper, it was so much more. It opened our horizons to experience a completely different way of being. While the photos are all proof that we went, and our images were reflected back into the surface of a lens, it’s the deep and serious transformation that took place within each of us that is the strongest result of our time with Habitat for Humanity Cambodia.

Some could argue that it’s an indulgent expense, that the money we each spent traveling there could have been used to build a lot of houses in Cambodia, but the impact that the trip made on each of us will now have a ripple effect on the way we interact with humanity around the world for the rest of our lives. Getting out of our comfort zones with a wonderful team (like the one Habitat Cambodia helped organize) gave us all the confidence that we will carry with us from now on. We returned home different and ready to take on new challenges to try to change the world.

Our lives were put into perspective a bit and we made true and surprising connections with people who live all across the globe. Being thrown into surprising circumstances with people we didn’t know well in a place that we didn’t call home, all while working towards a common goal, connected us a community in a way that simply sending money and studying from afar would never have done. We are advocates for life now.

Mao, the home partner during the Wake County Global Village build, said, “My biggest hope is my children, they are the one who gives me the strength to go on in my life… I am very happy that we would no longer experience the water leaking and finally we will be able to enjoy the warm feeling of having a safe and house to settle in.”

George Aiken, a member of the Board of Directors from Habitat Wake who went on the trip says “The highlight of my journey was, of course, the Habitat work that we did in Kandal. From my perspective, it is wonderful to experience first hand the amazing and diverse work that Habitat Cambodia is doing. I found The Habitat Cambodia team to be truly energized, committed. What a testament to their leadership team. Having never participated in a Habitat mission trip, for me it was truly a life-changing experience. The personal connection that we established with the Wake team, the Cambodia team, the homeowners and the villagers at large was truly magic! Although we face many challenges, I have renewed faith in our humankind as a result of the work that Habitat is doing. Bravo Habitat International!”

If you’re thinking of traveling to Cambodia with Habitat for Humanity, our perspective is that the answer is YES! Do it! No deep thought or consideration needed. You won’t regret it.

(Photo credits to Mr. Clay Dawson)