Monday, March 19, 2012

Community Service Village....

 The program kicks off in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's contrast-filled capital. See the Royal Palace and its richly embellished Silver Pagoda, with floors paved with 5,000 silver tiles. Stop by the bustling Russian Market, where merchants hawk everything from knock-off handbags to silks and Buddha carvings. Then learn about the notorious “killing fields” and the horrors committed by the Khmer Rouge on a visit to the genocide memorial. Meet with Arn Chorn-Pond, a peace activist and musician, and join a group of young people as they prepare for and present a performance of traditional music.

 Travel south to the Kep region on the lush, largely undeveloped coast of the Gulf of Thailand. From our base in a rural eco-lodge near the sea, we'll spend six days working in small groups on a variety of service projects in a nearby village. A typical day begins early with a breakfast of delicious tropical fruit. Then we head out into the community to help build a school or work on home improvements for the poorest residents. Teach English to local teenagers and adults, and organize fun learning activities for younger children. In the late afternoon, follow a path through the jungle to Angkoul Beach and go for a swim, play volleyball (a local favorite), or prepare a pizza dinner in the lodge's wood-fired oven. Use photography, video, or writing to record the projects you work on and the people you meet and put together a narrative of your experience. At the end of our stay, we'll invite friends from the community to join us for a day on the pristine tropical isle of Koh Tonsay.

Our home in Tanzania is a small agricultural village in the lush hills below Mount Kilimanjaro. We'll split into small groups and spend our days working with the village residents on a variety of community initiated projects. Improve a local water supply system, help build a classroom at the school, or lend a hand at a nearby orphanage. Roll up your sleeves and pitch in with planting and harvesting at a local farm, or help farmers sell their produce at market.
In the late afternoons, we'll have a chance to get into the rhythm of village life and explore the area. Play soccer with kids from the village, discover a waterfall in the surrounding rain forest, shop for dinner at an outdoor market, or write in your journal with views of Kilimanjaro in the distance. Spend time with the local children, who are excited to share their lives, practice their English, and teach you their pastimes, from drumming and dancing to batik and beading. Throughout the week, report on your experiences through photographs, writing, or video, and develop a narrative about your time in the village.

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