2013 Marist College Canberra School Captain, Damon Mudge, spent two months undertaking a Young Marist Solidarity Experience in the Pailin community in northwest Cambodia. Along with his mate, Will Downing, the pair took a gap year and headed off on a journey to discover the work of the Marist Brothers and, along the way, discover themselves and what makes them tick. Below is Damon's experience.
“Will Downing and I had a great time in Cambodia - we were received well in the community and were given a lot of freedom to go about our days. We stayed in Pailin with two Brothers from Ghana and Korea in a big two-storey building they use as a Learning Centre. We taught English to a wide variety of people including Monks, schoolkids and Doctors, and I taught guitar on the side as a lot of the local kids had shown keen interest.
On top of this, we helped the brothers run outreach programs, medical clinics and worked with other local organizations to give aid to the Pailin community. In one particular week, we helped run two free medical clinics for ear and dental checks-ups.
We applied through Marist Volunteers Australia (MVA) who gave us some options. While we had no idea of what to expect, it was better than we both expected. It was rewarding and not only for the community but more as a personal experience. I can definitely see myself doing it again down the track”