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Pages from Phnom Penh

Amy & Jonny
Cambodia Knits, Cambodia

Pages from Phnom Penh

 

Aside from scoring some record Scrabble points with that title, the last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy in the Page abode. It all still seems slightly unreal, almost as though we may wake up from the dream of it all, but on Saturday we will be off to Cambodia! We are going to be volunteering in Cambodia’s Capital, Phnom Penh, working with Cambodia Knits and Fairweave, two linked social enterprises which empower people in marginalised local communities (particularly women) with fair and safe employment opportunities, creating financial self-sufficiency in a country with severely discriminatory and exploitative labour conditions. Jonny, with his accounting qualifications, will be assisting the organisations with all things finance, whilst Amy’s varied background in charity work will be helping with a myriad of other aspects including social media, marketing and events.

 

Doing some volunteering abroad, as a way of offering our skills for free, whilst getting an opportunity to explore, adventure and experience a completely different culture, had been in our heads for some six months or so, but really just as a pipe-dream, no more thought-out than ‘maybe one day we’ll do some volunteering somewhere!’. The process of us both being granted unpaid leave from our jobs, realising our window of opportunity for volunteering was actually very soon, and receiving our placement options from our coordinating organisation (AfID) all happened very quickly in the last couple of months, with us deciding on Phnom Penh as our destination less than two weeks ago. This has meant getting seriously organised, sorting everything out in time for two months away from home – flights, accommodation, visas, vaccines, insurance, a house-sitter… not to mention frantically reading up on Cambodia’s extensive (and heart-breaking) history and culture.

 

The most wonderful part of all of this has been how God has been opening doors for us and getting rid of obstacles to us going away. Considering how last minute everything has been, things have been sorted so smoothly – from Jonny’s  work schedule for his time away being easily cleared (neigh on unheard of in Jonny’s profession) to helpful NHS staff to providing peace for family members. He has also already placed some wonderful people in our path to meet out in Phnom Penh and we’re so excited to see how he uses this trip to speak to us, change us, and use us.

 

Neither of us has ever done any longer term volunteering like this, nor visited a country as less-developed as Cambodia. We’re anticipating the culture shock and Amy in particular is not looking forward to the jet-lag or the mosquitoes! It’s going to be hard for us to leave our family and friends, our little home, our cats, our colleagues and workplaces, and our Church family for the next couple of months, but we’re very excited for the new experiences and new people in this adventure ahead.

 

If you’re the praying type, please do pray for us as we fly out on Saturday. And if you’d like to stay updated, click ‘subscribe’ at the top of the page and enter your email address to receive notifications when we post on this blog.

 

Amy and Jonny

 

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