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February 14th 2014
Published: February 16th 2014
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As a self-promise, I headed back to Kampong Speu, leading a team of individual volunteers this time, on the Water for Life programme under Singapore International Foundation. It felt great to be back, especially being able to meet up with old friends, and to contribute in a meaningful way. For me, it seems like a yearly retreat back into the kampong! I never felt more refreshed to be away from the bustling city, into the farms and villages where simplicity (and mosquitos!) fills the air.

This trip was slightly different due to changes in the programme compared to the previous ones. Besides doing the routine manufacturing and installation of water filters in the villages, we also did a hygiene programme in the local primary school. We packed more than 800 hygiene bags for the children, with each containing essential toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and hygiene practices' posters. These bags were then distributed to the kids, after doing a mass demonstration on the proper steps in cleaning our hands and brushing our teeth. Simple steps in good hygiene practices but often overlooked!

The happy faces of these kids while accepting the hygiene bags from us in the classrooms were really distinctive. With their clasped hands to their noses and simple smiles to display their appreciation, one can easily notice their contentment with the simple things in life. These are the little moments that lifted our spirits too, as we empathise with some of the villagers' circumstances.

On the last day of the volunteer work, it somehow occurred to me that perhaps this might be the last time I will be on this project (before it is completed). Hence, I had the impetus to take more shots that day, of the place, the people, and more so, to take in mental shots of how the whole experience felt like. At the end of the day, it felt tiring, but truly satisfying.

As another trip come to an end, I am still ever more thankful and appreciative for the multiple enriching experiences; building water filters, digging wells and latrine, mixing concrete, paving concrete paths and sharing hygiene practices. And I guess, these experiences have continually allowed me to be appreciative of what I have at home as well. Because even if you are 'poor', you may not necessarily be. Enjoy the little things in life, and you realise life isn't that bad to you after all.

For volunteer opportunities with Singapore International Foundation, please refer to:

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