It has been an amazing year for EXPERT-EXCHANGE. There have been many lessons learned and some major cognitive progress also. This November brings two volunteers to EXPERT-EXCHANGE who will be initiating their own project in Cambodia.
Overall, there is absolutely no shortage of things to do in Cambodia for volunteer work. The question that I had - and what took a while to figure out - is what to do? I had great ideas coming from my team in the States, but our cultures are so different. It would be naïve of me to push western values onto Khmer culture. Firstly, I needed to understand them and their needs.
Unfortunately, unthinking generosity is not always the correct thing. For example, many folks will volunteer and believe they are helping, but do not understanding the bigger implications of the project they have undertaken. The ripple effect can cause more issues than lasting benefits when we don't understand a culture and their beliefs. After a year on the ground I can assist in a way that is now useful. EXPERT-EXCHANGE needed the benefit of groundwork and cultural understanding so that funds can be allotted most effectively for all.
This year will certainly be more full-on and project orientated. The research and ground work has been laid, now it is time for implementation and for volunteers to join. Thanks for everyone’s lasting support and be sure to check out the PROJECTS page of the website in the weeks ahead - there you will be updated with videos and stories of ongoing initiatives starting in the middle of November.
Executive Director's Blog
Follow Macie through SE Asia as he embarks on a humanitarian adventure and assists inspirational individuals to improve their life quality.