March Open Team 2019 Reflection

The March Open Team took place from 21-24 March 2019. Hear from one of the volunteers, Ivan sharing his reflection with us! 

Question: Why did you choose to embark on this volunteering trip with us?

I came across this trip at a conference and I thought this is something meaningful I can try before my enlistment. I guess when we travel we seek to understand ourselves more too. It is like going outside of your comfort zone to learn more about yourself.

Question: What is your most memorable experience throughout your trip?

One of my most memorable experience has to hug the house owner when she broke down in tears. It makes me realise in those short two days I provided shelter for a family. What I would have done in two days will be like to watch a movie, play games, go out to shop and have meals with friends. But here I have helped a family in need. It really makes me wonder how I have been spending my time.

Question: What are some challenging moments for you?

The most challenging moment for me is to bathe at the training centre. The centre was not in the city area so sometimes you can find insects in the toilet. The electrical circuit often short-circuited. I had to bring my phone to use as torch light. And the water may stop. It feels really bad to be trapped in a dark toilet with soap on your body and no water to bathe. I really didn’t like the experience of bathing there and it was challenging for me who is so used to clean and nice bathroom at home. Nonetheless, I am thankful that I overcame my fear and get through it and it kind of prepared me for National Service. It was quite an experience.

Question: Use one word or emoji to summarise the entire trip. 

I chose this emoji of a silhouette of two people who look identical. And this is how we work together to build the house. There is no distinction and all of us on the trip with different background, stage in life working with a common goal in mind. We helped one another and support one another. There wasn’t even much ice breaker but we work this out together. Some say there is strength in numbers I would say there is strength in unity.

Question: How has your perspective shifted after the trip? Share with us what are some initial ideas you have towards the trip!

Before coming for the trip, I have been to Cambodia on a school trip. We stayed in the hotel and it was really nice. But staying in the training centre was totally different. I was informed that electricity is 4 times more expensive than Singapore so we tried to not use as much as possible. The showering was also not perfect. Sometimes the water will stop or the electricity will shut down. It can get really scary and uncomfortable. However, this is their living condition. In fact, it may just be a superficial level of the true living condition for the Cambodians. It shifted my perspective of what it means to have a place to live in and take shelter. It makes me really experience that building a simple house that we did in those 2 days could be a huge improvement in their quality of life.

The March open team also treated cups of hot milk to about 100 children. Check out more trip photos!

Interested to join an Open Team trip in 2020? Click here to find out the dates for next year’s Open Team trips or write in to volunteer@ohf.org.sg for more details. 

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