A couple of weeks ago a group of 7 students and two teachers set off for Cambodia. Our trip to Cambodia was aimed at one of the three AFESIP shelters, taking care of girls who have been trafficked (ie lived in brothels). Our group comprised of people from varied backgrounds. Soknea and Sotheary from Cambodia, Evelyn from Hong Kong, me from Norway, Bam from Thailand, Rigzom from Bhutan and Alice from the UK as well as our two teachers Stella from UK and Dave from Ireland.
We stayed at the shelter for 4 days engaging the girls in activities such as playing games, learning the recorder, painting, dancing and drama. I was in charge of playing games with the girls and found myself exhausted every night when going to bed. Small children have a lot of energy.
Considering what the girls have been through, I was concerned about how they would respond to a guy in their environment. It turned out that my concerns were for nothing. It did not take long before they started jumping on me and dragging me around.
It amazed me how strong the girls were and how untouched they seemed by their past. At one of the first meals we had with the girls, Rigzom asked one of them where they were before coming to the shelter; she answered: «I was raped», and went on with her meal.
When we had to leave after the four days, both us and them started to cry. I think this showed how much the experience meant for both sides, perhaps especially for them. For me, this has been one of the highlights of my LPCUWC experience, and perhaps I will go back for project week.