Origins of Angkor
The corporate partnership between nabCapital and Earthwatch is one of the most exciting things to happen to me. From the moment I found myself putting up the posters promoting the fellowship to when I got the call to say I was chosen, I still had no idea what it really meant. I just knew I had nothing to lose and so much to gain by giving it a try. I love to travel and this offered an opportunity to do something far removed from any trip I had done to date.
I had the absolute pleasure of joining a team of fellow volunteers at Ban Non Wat in Thailand for the Origins of Angkor project. Everyone - the Principle Investigators, Thai/International staff, students from around the world and the Earthwatch volunteers were all inspirational. It was interesting to learn aspects of archaeology first hand. The two weeks were filled with cleaning, sorting and piecing together pottery, excavating, cleaning artefacts, and photographing many interesting finds.
In the twenty years I have worked at NAB I never expected to have an opportunity like this. I have done many data entry jobs over the years. This is the first time I have sat amongst the trees, dogs and chickens to do it. Nor have I attended a course that offered so much personal development. It is one thing to have the tools for change, it is another to use them to cope in a changed environment.
It was hard not to be changed by this experience. There was a strong focus on learning while you were having fun working and with interesting presentations at the end of each day. It was here I found answers to questions I had about who the people were that lived in Ban Non Wat, what they did and where they went. I won’t spoil it for you by telling you the answers. The discovery is all part of the intrigue!
The rest of the Earthwatch volunteers also had a great impact on me. Several had come back to the Origins of Angkor on numerous occasions and were helpful in making me feel comfortable. The vastness of their experiences made for many hours of interesting conversations, most of them funny. All the people I met helped me develop self confidence and a better understanding of what I want to achieve in this short lifetime.
The Thai people’s generosity, warmth and sense of humor make for a positive work environment. No wonder the research team and the Earthwatch volunteers look forward so much to coming back year after year!
Since returning home I have joined two committees. In the past I have had fun helping out in the background of certain organisations. Now I have the confidence and have become more actively involved with the decision making. One of these organisations is Green 500, a group of volunteers within the NAB’s staff. Green 500 aims to educate staff in living more sustainable lives and hopefully helping with NAB’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2010.