A group of Blue Mountains residents returned from a two-week trip to Cambodia recently where they helped make a difference to the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.
But trip co-ordinator Damon Dreves said the 31 locals probably experienced more life-changing moments than the Cambodian villagers they went to visit.
“Realistically the people who went on the trip probably gained more in some ways than the people we went to help,” he said.
This was certainly the case for Springwood resident Ben Curran who took his family on the trip after hearing powerful stories from locals who went on a similar tour in 2011.
“When I got back to our house. . . I looked around at everything [we own] and just cried — I cried because we have so much and we take it for granted,” he said.
Lesley Lancaster was another Springwood resident whose family had their outlook challenged by the extreme poverty in Cambodia.
“We saw lots of really sad stuff and stuff that was heartbreaking, but then there was really great stuff that people were doing over there that was quite inspiring,” she said.
The Blue Mountains contingent did their own share of inspiring work, from helping construct much-needed school buildings to teaching local children.
Made up of parishioners from Springwood Baptist Church and their friends, the group raised $15,000 beforehand to help fund their work in Cambodia.
Despite their poverty, the positive attitude of the local Cambodians was a source of constant inspiration for their Blue Mountains visitors.
“They are unbelievably happy people — and they loved saying hello,” said Mr Curran.
For more information about the group visit ‘Cambodia Experience Tour’ on Facebook.