Posted on 23 October, 2016

It is nearly four years ago since a freshly graduated University student decided to jump on a plane and venture to a foreign country to volunteer.

As she stepped foot onto the plane all those years ago she had no idea what the next eight months would entail and certainly had no idea jut how much the country and people would capture her heart. Now a little older, and possibly a little wiser, she is returning to her second home for the first time. And yes, if you haven’t realised that student was me.

The week before a project visit is always a last minute rush and whirlwind for me. As one of the staff members of Open Heart International, it is my role is to work closely with our Project Coordinators and ensure we have everything in place, and we are ready to go. Last week was no exception.


As I sat on the plane headed to Cambodia, I finally had a chance to collate my thoughts. It was the first time I was returning to Cambodia, the place that sparked the passion and drive inside me to commit to working in the not-for-profit arena, which ultimately led to me working for Open Heart International.

Cambodia holds a special place in not only my heart but also for many of the 26 volunteers team members who are part of this project visit. The “long term” volunteers share their memories and stories to the “newbies” and you can tell their love for the place as they express excitement to return.

The team, blurry eyed, arrived at the hotel late Saturday night. We had a nice meal and a quick meeting before a much needed sleep.



Sunday was a ‘rest and catch up’ day as the last of the team trickled in one-by-one. In the afternoon the screening team met at the Angkor Hospital for Children to decide the surgery list for the week. Today (Monday) is surgery day.

This will sadly be the last deployment of our cardiac team to Angkor Hospital for Children (more details here) after ten years of involvement. While we understand the reasons, there is a tinge of sadness. We hope there will be more opportunities in this country we love so much at some point in the future. Despite the sad nature of the trip you can tell the team has a respect and love for Cambodia.

For now we are focused on this week. I just know it is going to be a great trip, I can feel it.

Tags:  Cambodia,