Exploring Cambodia (2019)

The Killing Fields in Phnom Penh

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In Phnom Penh Cambodia, our first major attraction was one of the most heartfelt because of all the innocent lives killed from 1975-1979 during the Khmer Rouge takeover.  During this adventure to the Killing Fields, PBC students listened to  headsets that helped them navigate through this genocidal territory.  Although PBC watched this film in America, all of them thought it was nothing like experiencing it in person.  Students saw the skull monument, clothing that arose from the dirt to the surface, and unevenly buried graves of thousands of Cambodians who were killed.  It was absolutely chilling!!  Our senior named Moya said, "No book can sum up what I just felt by being here to experience this site.  We're so thankful."

Central Market and the Night Market in Phnom Penh

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Central Market and the NIghts Market sit in the heart of Phnom Penh and has thousands of  various foods and merchandise that can be purchased for prices you wouldn't believe.  Here students were able to practice converting and bargaining as they purchased souvenirs and gifts for themselves, families, friends and even teachers.  Right after students went shopping, we left to eat at the night market near our hotel.  Mr. Reaves said, "I can't believe how inexpensive the prices are here."  Most students ate a full dinner here for $1-$2.   

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Conservation for Cambodian Sunbears (Free the Bears)

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This was an adventure none of us will ever forget because the training to work with Cambodian Sun Bears started right at the Oakland Zoo with Malaysian Sun Bears.  2 weeks prior to visiting Phnom Tamao's wildlife refuge, students practiced zoo keeping and discovered the beauty of working with sun bears through observations and enrichment right in our hometown of Oakland.  When we arrived at Phnom Tamao in the outskirts of Phnom Penh, we saw over 70 different sun bears and we spent the day learning, planning, and enriching for the sunbears.  It was amazing!  Students were able to get within a few feet of these beautiful endangered creatures of Southeast Asia.  None of this was possible without Castlemont High School students who made it happen.  We're so fortunate that Oakland Zoo and Free the Bears welcomed us.  Thank you both!!!

The Rest of the Journey to Cambodia (See Pics Below)

CIO and PBC

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This was at the top of our list for the most amazing humanitarian effort our organization has ever been apart of.  The planning for this event between Guy (founder of PBC) and Sitha  (founder of CIO) began 7 months before we actually visited Cambodia. During the trip, PBC spent two nights working side by side with the students.  Sitha and his wife are such amazing people and we were so blessed to meet him, his wife, and all 38 of his children. 

Angkor Wat

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After visiting the Great Wall of China last year, PBC students were eager tackle another man made wonder of the world.  This massive Wat built over 1000 years ago stands in the jungles of Siem Reap and remained standing despite the Khmer Rouge takeover from 1975-1979.  Walking through this site brought a sense of calm, strength, and another level of appreciation  for life.  After visiting this historical relic and walking for 2 hours, students took lots of pictures with locals before eating at an authentic Cambodian Restaurant.

Mekong River Cruise

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This Sunset Cruise  took place after a long day of site-seeing through the streets of Phnom Penh and it was much needed as our group fought the 97 degrees temperature.  The cruise helped us with relaxing and capping off the night with authentic Cambodian Cuisine and Cambodian traditional music.