Jebby and Chelsea are two wonderful volunteers who joined us on our Phnom Penh Global Village Build in May 2023. Both Jebby and Chelsea were a joy to have on the build, and really handy on the tools – they also represented the youngest and oldest team members we had, Jebby aged 79 and Chelsea aged 22.
Our team are always asked questions about the Global Village experience, and although we do have a comprehensive FAQ section on our website we thought we’d ask Jebby and Chelsea some questions about their time in Cambodia.
What were you first impressions of Cambodia?
Jebby: “My first impression of Cambodia was twofold: the richness of the culture and the dire living conditions of many Cambodians.”
Chelsea: “To be honest I can’t quite remember my first impressions other than thinking ‘Wow this is sooo different to Australia!’ There was a massive culture shock on my end for sure but I really started to appreciate the culture difference as the week went on.“
What was your favourite part of the week on the build site?
Jebby: “My favourite part of the week on-site was the feeling of being part of a dedicated group of volunteers all driven by the desire to help people they didn’t even know; everyone helping each other to do the best job possible for a Cambodian family.”
Chelsea: “I had many favorite times onsite however it was towards the end of the week, the looks the families would give you and how excited they were getting was priceless. I was so blown away with how we can all connect despite such a language barrier. “
What was your favourite part of the week off the build site?
Jebby: “My favourite part off-site was the chance to get to know these remarkable Australians and learn from their skills and enthusiasm.”
Chelsea: “My favorite part of the week off build site was out team dinners & bus rides around the town. This was a time I got to chat to everyone and get to learn a bit about where they come from and what their life has been like so far.”
How did you fundraise for Habitat? Any tips for others?
Jebby: “I honestly think my fund-raising was a bit deficient, relying primarily on my social media network. I would suggest others begin fundraising early and do more than I did.”
Chelsea: “I was quite lucky with fundraising as I have a lot of family friends and family that also shared it. “
Can you describe the experience overall in 1-2 sentences?
Jebby: “This build was so much more than I expected. The deeply satisfying teamwork and connection to the other volunteers was combined with the joy of helping a family whose life was changed by our work. “
Chelsea: “The best experience I have had in my life so far! A totally invaluable time that you get to spend connecting with others. If you feel as though this is out of your comfort zone like I did, please lean into it. It will be the best thing you do for yourself.”
Finally, what would you say to someone like you thinking about joining a build?
Jebby: “Someone like me should not believe their age is necessarily a barrier to joining the effort, but they should also take a good hard look at their capability to be part of a hard–working team in sometimes tough conditions. Be prepared to be proud of yourself!“
Chelsea: “Do it! I will never forget my experience with habitat – it grew me as a person so much and the people you meet all have hearts of gold!”