By Steph McNicol
A trip of a lifetime will always be cherished by Assumption College student Ben Cook, after learning many valuable life lessons.
The trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, gave Ben and others on the trip a chance to learn how to act with their hearts instead of their heads – through a program called ‘Head, Heart, Hands, Holidays.’
Ben said he went on the trip with his family members, Nikki, Amie and Tom as well as Deanne Henry and Dylan Lane.
“Experiencing this with my family was indescribable. It brought us closer to each other, but also a lot closer to ourselves,” Ben said.
“The people we met while on the trip are now our closest friends who we will share this bond with for a very long time.”
While on the trip, Ben said they built a washhouse to improve the sanitation for the people in Siem Reap, as well as used the money they had raised in Australia to buy toothbrushes and toothpaste to give to people.
Upon returning from the trip, Ben said he had learnt many valuable lessons including how much he had taken everyday luxuries for granted.
“The schooling system over there is one of the main things that I can’t get my head around,” Ben said.
“In Australia, there will be students who take the opportunity to learn for granted, whilst in Cambodia those students will give anything just to be at school. It makes you just want to give back as much as you can.”
Ben said the Cambodian people offered everything they had to his family and friends even though it wasn’t much.
“They sacrifice their free time, if they ever have any, to help their community. They only have one day off every month and they volunteered to help with the building of the washhouse,” he said.
“We are so lucky to be in the situation that we are in. The Cambodian people have little to nothing, but freely give and ask for absolutely nothing in return.
“You go over there thinking you are going to help them by building a washhouse but you underestimate the impact that it will have on you.
“You think you are the one giving to them but they give you so much more in return without realising. They are the ones teaching you valuable life lessons.”