Sharing a Vision in Cambodia

An incredible feeling has to be shared. Wandering through dense jungle foliage, every turn of the corner looked the same as the last. This made us feel lost in the green expanse, yet safe with how effortlessly our guides led us through. 

 Tao soaks up the sounds of the jungle. Photo by  @trex.photography

Tao soaks up the sounds of the jungle. Photo by @trex.photography

Located in southern Cambodia, the Cardamom Mountains express unique, pristine environments. Each day we trekked to a new waterfall, a welcoming retreat from the hot, moist tropical climate. We hastily leapt into deep rock pools and showered under powerful streams of water, taking care not to slip on the mossy rock below.

 A new waterfall every night. Photo by  @trex.photography

A new waterfall every night. Photo by @trex.photography

Despite our reluctance to part with this beautiful piece of Earth, we said goodbye and moved on to our next leg of the trip. We arrived at the Boeung Kunchang Primary School, remotely located in the Koh Kong Province on Cambodia, not too far from the mountains we'd been so strongly attached to.

 A stunning jungle environment. Photo by  @trex.photography

A stunning jungle environment. Photo by @trex.photography

We were welcomed with open arms and open hearts from the moment we arrived. Smiling faces were everywhere, the kids eager to start a football match under the hot and heavy midday sun. Keen to get to work, we delegated tasks and from that point on it felt like the work never stopped.

 Obligatory welcome match. Photo by  @trex.photography

Obligatory welcome match. Photo by @trex.photography

We chipped away at walls, dug up ground, slapped on paint, and sweated incessantly. The kids wanted to help out too, filling up water buckets, painting walls and mischievously playing tricks with us. We struggled to keep up with their non-stop energy!

 Students supervise the digging of the trench. Photo by  @trex.photography

Students supervise the digging of the trench. Photo by @trex.photography

 Demolition and clean up begins. Photo by  @trex.photography

Demolition and clean up begins. Photo by @trex.photography

After four days of intensive manual labour, litres of sweat and isles of smiles, the school had a refurbished library to move in to, freshly painted classrooms, and a brand new sanitation block to put to use once school resumes. Our vision was to transform the school into something the students and staff could be proud of. The success of this project was a testament to the passion held by the students, staff and volunteers to deliver and improve access to education in Cambodia. 

 Isles of smiles. Photo by  @trex.photography

Isles of smiles. Photo by @trex.photography

Written by Renae Verboon. Photos by Tom Jessett.
Check out more of Tom's photography and adventures on Instagram: @trex.photography.

Click here to find out more about our upcoming trips to Cambodia.
Follow @thisworldexists_projects on Instagram and be inspired to change the way you travel.