“Angkor Odyssey” – By Andre Kwok 29th December 2013 – 9th January 2014
Another “plan” to plan (2)
In this way, after the first day’s site visit, we called on an urgently long meeting at night in hotel and discussed about the work and schedule on the following days. Now that the habit of villagers of villages of first visit day did not allow the work to proceed, we needed to modify the plan of work and even the model of the project. After a deep thought and discussion, with the Internet, a local map bought at the airport and the help of my local friends translating, we decided to split the work into two aspects – Problem investigation and Solutions Interview. For the following days, we split into two teams to visit villages and slums in far more remote villages, (The Tuk Tuk journey on first day was 30 mins and this time we decided on 2-‐3 hours journey, in that way, according to map, we shall find poorer villages and even slums) and keep seeking visit and meeting with local NGOs. The former move was to understand local context and what exactly they needed desperately, while the latter move means to connect to local NGOs to see how they get to the local context and come up with specific service work.
In the following days, we kept seeking chances to meet and visit NGOs and villages, along the way that we still faced various uncertainties, meeting re-arrangements, lost contact and even political protest. Everyday here we made immediate decisions whenever plans changed and we had to try our best to make sure there was also backup alternative. The challenge we faced here was definitely something we never seen and encountered in Hong Kong. We let go of our perspectives as Hong Kong people, and re-built our open mind and attitude to adapt to the “eco-system”, in a hope to understand more about Cambodia and make practical and sustainable impact to make their life better.
As founder and team leader, I definitely have to say thank you to my team, for their wholehearted trust and help, which without whom the project would have not succeeded at the end. In my personal reflection, whether the project will succeed and achieved several goals do not matter me much, what matters to me as leader is whether teammates can learn under uncertainties and get the most out of them throughout the decision making and everything we had done in the service trip. And finally, when the flight landed in Guangzhou International Airport, I was relieved after 12 days of adventurous project work as my teammates came back intact and became more mature after such challenges!