Team Keng Kang in Cambodia

“My greatest take away from this experience was how fortunate I was to help others and just how lucky I am.”

During the summer holidays, a group of Mayville pupils took a long-awaited trip to Cambodia. In this story, current Year 11 pupil, Ava, reflects on the experience.
Team Keng Kang Cambodia 2023

In mid July, we embarked on our much anticipated Camps International expedition to Cambodia, which had involved two years of fundraising. After clambering on and off of the minibuses which took us to Heathrow airport, we met up with the other schools, to form our whole group: Team Keng Kang. Eagerly, we boarded the plane to Phnom Penh. The journey was split with a layover in Singapore. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I was met with intense heat and humidity.

We travelled to the hotel in Phnom Penh and visited some night markets. At the markets, we met locals, bought gifts, danced and listened to live music. The following day, we visited the notorious S21 Prison and one of many Killing Fields. I found these very moving and could hardly believe the atrocities which had happened there.

Team Keng Kang Cambodia 2023

We arrived at our first camp: Beng Pae. Once oriented, we dug wells, made concrete rings, learnt some Khmer, did a litter pick and were also nearly caught in a tropical thunderstorm. The showers and toilets were a bit of a shock, as there were no flushes or hot water but we did have fun in the hammocks. We visited a temple on the first day, where some of us were blessed by Buddhist monks, which involved being drenched in very cold water.

Then we set off for Koh Rong Samloem (the dive island and Sunset Beach). We spent five days participating in diving training and emergency first aid courses. I was lucky enough to achieve my PADI open water diving qualification. We spent the evenings on Sunset Beach watching the sunset, playing pool and watching films.

We returned to Beng Pae, where we were given the opportunity to teach English in a local school and to begin work on a football pitch. We completed building the two wells we had started on our initial stay.

Keng Kang were fortunate enough to visit one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World: Angkor Wat and the temple from Tomb Raider, in Siem Reap.

We arrived at our final Camp: Beng Mea Lea. We met Han, who is known as the ‘smiliest man in Cambodia’. We built concrete pots for locals to store water in during the dry season; we also built a chicken coop in two days.

Finally, we travelled back to Phnom Penh and made our way home.

My greatest take away from this experience was how fortunate I was to help others and just how lucky I am.


We would like to thank Ava for sharing her experience on the Cambodia Scuba Expedition where along with the entire Keng Kang team, they contributed to a number of sustainable projects .  The projects aim to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2. Zero Hunger, 3. Good Health and Wellbeing, 4. Quality Education, 9. Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, 13. Climate Action, 15. Life on Land.

Reposted from Mayville High School

We hope you are enjoying reading our ‘Footsteps on the Ground’ series.  If you would like to share your own experiences we would love to hear from you.

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