Houses on stilts on Tonle Sap Lake

Over the past few days we have seen how some families Iive along the edge of Tonle Sap Lake, the largest inland lake in Southeast Asia. Some live in houses on stilts that are 8 to 10 metres high; others live in boats or floating houses on the edge of the lake. They survive by fishing and planting crops on land that is uncovered in the dry season. There are also floating schools and shops

Floating houses on Tonle Sap Lake, many of which are from Vietnam.


Chong Prolay Primary School, on the lake ...

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

We all felt the sharp contrast between the Cambodia that most tourists see, such as Angkor Wat and smart tourist hotels, and the real Cambodia that we experienced. 

Group at Ta Prom, one of the most filmed temple sites, where the jungle had almost completely covered the buildings. 

By visiting the projects in the rural areas we saw what life is like for the majority of Cambodians. We were really encouraged by the work that World Relief Cambodia is doing through the local churches. They are helping the people in so many ways - to save for the future, understand the importance of personal hygiene and the dangers of HIV/AIDS and get a better education. It is good to think that all of us at St Johns are helping these things to happen. 

Photo of the intrepid group outside the ruins of Sambor Prei Kuk, a 7th century temple and one of the oldest in Southeast Asia. The land mines around the site were only cleared in 2008 so we followed our guide carefully!


Coming to the end of our stay in Phnom Penh, we enjoyed worshipping with a large International Church this morning, having also joined a very small cell church meeting on one of the remote islands on Friday.
A number of us stayed with a family on this remote island and (after a small mix up with the police) had an amazing time and received such warm and overwhelming hospitality. The picture is the home where Elliot and Mark stayed and where the cell church meet.
Most of the group now look forward to heading north to Siem Reap on their sight-seeing tour.
Last night we ate together with Tearfund and World Relief Cambodia staff (see picture) and we are hugely appreciative of how they have welcomed us, led an excellent program for us and looked after us so well.
With love from the team x

Today has been very worthwhile, visiting the villages to see teaching groups on trafficking, HIV/Aids, and children's work. We also visited a cell church and joined in their worship! Tonight most of the team are staying with host families in one village, which will be quite an experience! We have had delicious meals in local style, crossed the Mekong River ( plus vans!) on a rudimentary ferry, and experienced some interesting roads and sights! Altogether a great day for us all.

Today we have had a taste of some of the World Relief projects in action.

The first photo shows an HIV group (1 of 25 groups meeting in the regions around Phnom Penh) educating to prevent the spread of this illness in poorer communities.

The second one is the cell church where we met one of the Savings Groups, encouraging local people to experience the benefits of saving (even if just a little each time). A really inspirational day seeing the difference that's being made on the ground, as well as seeing a lot of the country around Phnom Penh. PS. Chicken feet and fried tarantulas on the menu today. Love from all the team