The Last Minute Checks – An Introduction

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Passport? Check.
Bugspray? Check.
Toothbrush? Check.

As you might have guessed, I am sitting here going over my pack list for the upcoming Cambodian mission. We leave tomorrow. I’m sure you’ve experienced this last minute travel cocktail of enthusiasm and uncertainty: I’m so excited. Did I forget something important?

Now that you know the contents of my bag, shall we get better acquainted? I’m Lauren – a volunteer with IWA – and am on the team that will be writing about our experience in Cambodia. It’s nice to meet you.

This mission combines my love of travel, diversity, and being in service to others. In September of 2010, I left Seattle on a small sailboat and spent the following 2.5 years sailing and living throughout the South Pacific. I made landfall in New Zealand in October and now live here full time. In my South Pacific journey, a seed of compassion sprouted to full bloom as I got to know local communities and cultures.

My interest in Cambodia grew last year when I had the opportunity to work on the Cambodian-American Teen Mural Project to help fund Cambodian-American teens to create a public mural honoring the survivors and victims of the genocide under the Pol Pot regime. I dove into Cambodia’s history and culture, and became humbly inspired by strength and perseverance of these youths and their parents. I had to get more involved. That is when I learned about IWA and this mission through a friend and fellow IWA volunteer.

I have a feeling that this mission is going to be amazing. Between meeting wonderful locals and cultivating relationships with likeminded volunteers, I think that my cup will spilleth over with the goodness of this opportunity.

Well, I better get back to packing. Mindfulness? Check.

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