Village Trip 27th February 2011

This was a special trip, apart from the regular volunteers and Rick, the rest of the volunteers were Melanie’s  (CHOICE Trustee) family. Fourteen year old sister Katie Edelson had done a charity fundraiser for CHOICE  as a Girl Scout project back in the US.  She purchased 7 bags of rice, 4 x 8’x4′ Whiteboards, 240 school books, pencils etc, food for the village trip, she  paid for Tarpaulins to cover leaky grass roofs, a replacement water pump head in the Village and  many cans of  baby formulae milk for the women unable to breastfeed. We really appreciate Katie’s support, she raised a total of US$766  to help the desperate needs of these Villager’s. Thanks to everyone who helped and donated this Sunday.


“My name is Katie Edelson and in 2011 I went to Cambodia to give food and supplies to the people in the provinces.  I just turned 14 and before this trip I had never seen poverty.  Sure, I had heard about it, seen it on TV, but they were pretty much just faces on a screen. Just like so many other things in my culture, they weren’t real.

I have been a Girl Scout for 9 years now and it was time to earn my Silver Award, which is the highest award a girl my age can earn.  It took me several months to come up with an idea for my project, but when my sister told me about CHOICE it was set: I decided to collect money for CHOICE.  According to Girl Scout rules, I am not allowed to just collect money and give it to another organization, so I decided that I would collect money and then buy supplies to take to the village people.  In order to gather the funds, I sent out a flyer and did several presentations to local groups.

Thanks to everyone’s generosity,  I arrived in Cambodia with $766 and met with the CHOICE people.  We figured out which supplies were most needed and went shopping for them.  The next day we went to the villages to distribute the supplies.

It was amazing to me how the people could literally have nothing, their water contaminated with poison and their grass huts looking like they are about to fall over and still be so happy and smiling.  The children came out and surrounded me.  They clung to my arms and smiled at me.  They offered us nuts and yams and sugarcane juice to drink.

We handed out bags of food and soap.  The looks of happiness and gratitude on those people’s faces was mind-blowing.  We set up a whiteboard and that was now a school room.   We sang songs, played games and finger painted.  There was a girl who gave her painting to me.   I will keep it forever, along with this memory.

I connected with some of these people in a way I never have before.  I know that this is  a life changing experience.  It was just as wonderful as I imagined, only more so.  I am so very grateful for this opportunity.”


Pictured is Katie with some of the rice, handing out baby formulae milk powder. The art class at work, Melanie and Katie rest while Mark does some juggling,  storing one of the whiteboards, giving out a donated guitar, the pumphead and dressing an old Villager in a donated leather jacket.