06 Aug 6 Things I Learned in 6 Days in Southeast Asia
Written by Hailey Sacchetti, 2015 Southeast Asia: Animal Conservation
Growing up in a little town of only 1,800 people means growing up with an extra-large family, with hundreds of siblings and multiple sets of parents that treat you like their own. Before I left I unfortunately lost a very close “mom” of mine. This made leaving my extra-large family for 43 days seem almost impossible. I spoke to “mom” a few times before I left and she said “what an opportunity, make the most of it like I know you will” and “you’re going to do great sweets”, and I’ve held those words close throughout my adventure.
Her words came in extra handy while spending the week at the Ockenden Permaculture Education Farm. It was an amazing opportunity but extremely out of my comfort zone. We learned about permaculture and sustainability and how it relates to the Cambodian countryside while living under an open-air grass-roof structure on bamboo mats with no electricity.
Working with Ockenden was an experience that challenged me, helped me grow as a person, and taught me that my family may lose members but it will continue to grow. In just 6 days I was challenged by bugs in my bed, mountains I thought I couldn’t climb, and squat toilets I thought I couldn’t master for the life of me, but with the help of my OG fam and the Ockenden team these assumptions were proven to be nothing but an experience to grow.
In just 6 days Ockenden created a week of giving. We planted trees daily, we helped plant crops for locals, and we truly saw where our hard work was going and how it positively affected the people in the community. In just 6 days I watched my family grow by 16 as I formed bonds with my fellow backpacktivists and the Ockenden team, giving me 16 new people to love and learn from. In just 6 days I learned to enjoy simplicity and to be at peace with the past but to work hard to create a better future. In just 6 days I’ve seen “mom” watch over me as she touched the sky each morning with extra pink sunrises, her favourite colour, pushing me to face my fears and embrace everything the week at Ockenden had to offer. In just 6 days I learned a lot for which I am forever thankful. I took more from this experience than I could ever give.
Here are 6 lessons I learned in just 6 days. Thank you Ockenden!