Today I had the priviledge of going along to an interview Trent Dalton was conducting. According to Sandra, everyone in the office would ‘just love’ to go out on an assignment with Trent. We were going to Recliffe to interview a couple who have opened a school in Cambodia.
We arrived at this massive Queenslander across the road from the water, set in amoungst a tropical landscape and were confronted with a WARNING – Beware of Dog sign. It turns out the only thing we needed to beware of was Toby’s muddy paws and arm cramps from too much patting.
“He’s lonely,” Izzy explained, “his companion just died and he has been a bit of a sook since so he’s allowed in the house now, but only if it hasn’t been raining.” Unfortunately for Toby it had been raining so he spend the interview staring through the glass door looking forelorn.
We sat on Izzy and Doug’s verandah for the interview. Izzy is a primary school teacher studying her masters in community developement. Doug worked in property developement but now has his own wedding photobooth franchise. Last year they decided to open a school in Cambodia.
Listening to them speak about their journey was an amazing experience. I cried when they showed us the photo’s of the Grand Opening day at the school. Doug is a wonderful photographer and captured the moment when more than 800 children lined the street into the school to clap and cheer as Izzy and Doug rode past on a Tuk Tuk, as banners with hand-cut paper letters swung in the breeze. Doug cried when he explained the devastation the country had faced during the reign and after the collapse of the Khmer Rogue. When Pol Pot’s regime toppled the country was left with only four doctors. They lost an entire generation of people.
Izzy and Doug’s faces light up when speaking of their time spent in Cambodia and you can physically feel their longing to be back there. Izzy flies out tomorrow to her beloved school and you can hear the excitiment and relief in her voice to be going ‘home’.
Driving away I feel slightly empty inside. I feel like I’m missing out on the extraordinary experiences these people are having. I voice my concerns to Trent. “Now I kinda feel like a shit person,” I say, “Yeah,” he says, “you’ll get used to that.”
I make the descion not to feel down-hearted, we get to tell Izzy and Doug’s, and many other amazing people’s, stories and I hope that will be my chance to make a difference.
First_Steps_School – check out the school.