Youth Camp–Part 2

More scenes from the first two days of the Youth Camp in Preah Vihear.

There is a set of squat toilets near each of the sleeping houses so that people don’t have to travel far, especially at night when there are no lights. For showers, the two round concrete cisterns are full of water. This is a toilet and shower for guys so the shower “stall” is just the concrete slab to the right of cisterns and the men, in their underwear, just dump pans of water over themselves. The women’s shower area has a fence made of the same green netting used on construction sites, to give a little privacy.

This is the dining area, underneath the biggest girls dorm. Most activities are out in the open but when it rains heavily–as it did our first night there, this area serves as a meeting room.

After everyone had found his or her sleeping cabin, it was time to explore the 1,585 hectares of hilly jungle land that comprises the Jambok Hoas nature center. Here the group debates which way to go, which paths to follow.

Just a short distance away on one of the trails is this nifty tree house, about 60 or 70 feet up in a substantial tree.

A little farther on is this humongous tree. On this side are attached wooden blocks for climbing the tree as in rock climbing. Climbing is only allowed when the climbers are belayed with a safety harness.

On the other side of the tree, iron brackets have been mounted to allow for climbing like on a ladder.

In between all the forest activity sites there are a multitude of paths to be taken, something most of these young people have never experienced, even though they are from an agricultural country, because most of them grew up in the city and even in the rural areas, the forests have been cut down and sold to Vietnam and China to make money for the tycoons, politicians, and military leaders.

Another attraction is this “canopy walk,” a narrow lane of wooden planks suspended on steel cables high up in the canopy of the tree tops.

Finally after a couple hours, everyone was back at the base camp and recounting all they had seen on the trail–and waiting till tomorrow to try the canopy walk, a zipline, and other activities.

Dinner wasn’t until 6:00 PM so some of the group passed the time playing Uno.

The food was basic Cambodian fare, nothing fancy, but what the youth would eat at home. And there was plenty of it.

After the meals, each group has to wash dishes–not a terrible chore when you’re with your friends and having fun.

Supper started, the rains started falling, and the camp generator was turned on at 6:00 PM. Because of the rain, the group was basically trapped in the dining area so on this first night, all went to their cabins at 7:30 PM or so and were in bed by 8:00 or 8:30 PM, long before the generator was turned off at 9:30.