by Veasna Chhay
Global Village Coordinator
for HFHC Siem Reap
It was in January of 2013 when I learned that I had been selected as the new Volunteer Engagement Coordinator at Habitat for Humanity Cambodia’s Siem Reap office.
I was nervous at first, not only because I was very excited to get my first full-time job just six months after graduation, but also because I had been to Siem Reap only three times before, and only for short periods of time. It would also be my first experience living away from my family home. I told my parents and grandmother about my decision, and although they were not glad to see me go, they also knew that I would be able to take care of myself.
Despite my family’s concern for me, I was very proud to go because at Habitat I would be able to do something for my people no matter where I ended up living. The day after I was hired, my supervisor told me I had to leave within two days for Siem Reap. I was concerned about what I would I do when I got there, and where would I live. The bus ride took more than seven hours and it was already late when I arrived in Pouk district.
To my surprise, most of the HFH Cambodia Siem Reap team were still at the Puok office about 15 minutes from town, to greet me before they left for the weekend. I was introduced to all the staff and shown where I would be staying. Our office in Pouk district has a room with two beds for staff; one of which was mine. I was relieved to know that a male colleague of mine also lived there.
The next day, I cleaned up and started to prepare for my first Global Village team. Prior to applying for this post, I volunteered with Habitat Cambodia as a translator. It was through translating where I also learned the special skills needed in hosting teams. I began to love every single moment of it and felt very excited and honored to lead the hosting of my first GV team in Siem Reap.
Over time I gained more and more experience, hosted more teams, and every build remains special to me. I am now always ready
to host and, I’ve made more friends and have grown closer to my coworkers; we share working knowledge and life experiences, and we all look after each other.
I have nurtured good friendships among villagers and I feel blessed to be able to help them and be a part of their learning process; especially in water, hygiene and sanitation. I love living in the rural area of Siem Reap and I am even thinking of living here the rest
of my life.
I am happy whenever I can do something for my people, no matter where I am.