Fast forward to 2013 and I have now been to Cambodia four times. I have completely fallen in love with the country €“ its beauty, its people and its culture €“ and, of course, I love that I can visit Vary each time I go.
Every time I see Vary she is less and less shy. On my latest trip when I arrived in the community Vary ran up to me, hugged me and asked, “Did you miss me?” That was such a special moment for me and a memory I know I will cherish forever.
I spent the day with Vary, her mother and aunty, and the local ChildFund staff. We shared a meal together which gave us the chance to catch up on each other’s lives. Vary told me about her school and her friends, and we spoke a lot about dancing as she likes to dance, just the normal stuff that any 11-year-old girl is interested in.
Vary’s family are farmers and back in Australia I live on a farm so we like to chat about that too. It’s nice to have that little connection with her and her family, even if our farms are slightly different!
Each time I visit I also get the chance to see some of the work ChildFund is doing in Vary’s community. This time we visited a group of local youths who’ve established their own latrine (toilet) manufacturing business with ChildFund’s support. These young people were taught how to construct latrines through vocational training and now supply the toilets needed not only for ChildFund’s sanitation projects, but other customers in their local area, which I thought was a wonderful initiative.
I cannot wait to go back to Cambodia! If you’re thinking about making the trip to visit your sponsored child, I’d say definitely do it!