On the afternoon of Saturday 29 June, I flew to Melbourne to meet the team travelling to Cambodia for The Cagliero Project’s yearly immersion program. From there we travelled to Phnom Penh, stopping in between in Bangkok, totalling my flight time to about 11 hrs.
Since arriving in Phnom Penh, our group has stayed in a house on the 30-acre Don Bosco Technical School and gone on homestay from Monday to Wednesday with staff from DBTS. I stayed with Vichika and her family, who quickly became my ‘second-family’. To get to her house I had to ride on the back of a ‘moto’ or motorbike in a country with very little road rules. It became more and more fun after time!
We have been put to work on the school’s football field drainage project by laying concrete on frames made by the Welding Department. We have explored Phnom Penh’s recent tragic history of the Khmer Rouge at the Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum. We have also explored the amazing parts of Phnom Penh at the Russian Market and Phnom Wat.
The climate remains challenging to adjust to at times, as my body expects it to be cold “zero-degree” Tasmania. However, the people continue to amaze me with their positive and extremely polite attitudes and huge smiles. I don’t feel like I’m visiting another country, as the Salesian community here in Cambodia has made me, and the group, feel at home.
My only wish is that the trip were longer as I don’t want to leave these beautiful people! We are currently hosting people from Salesian schools and communities here at DBTS - more updates to come!
Ben Dowling - Dominic College old scholar Class of 2017
Above photos: Ben and Immersion participant; Renée from Sydney; Trisha (Melbourne Participant) Olivia (Sydney Participant) and Ben resting after mixing concrete; the group enjoys some great food.