01 Sep Our Top 10 at Ockenden
Written by 2015 Southeast Asia: Cities and Sanctuaries
After spending five incredible days at Ockenden Cambodia’s permaculture farm in the western province of Battambang, here are our ten favourite things:
10. The Cows.
All 80 of them! The PC farm is home to a community cow bank that lends out cows to local farmers. Once a calf or calves are born, the cow is given back.
9. The night time nature noises.
Especially after a good downpour of rain, it was a symphony of all creatures and the frolicking frogs were by far the loudest!
Not only did we transplant pumpkin seedlings into the kitchen garden, but we couldn’t stop eating it either! So delicious and delectable in any Khmer dish.
7. Visiting Mr. Thou’s family and learning how to make traditional Khmer dessert.
A combination of coconut, sweet rice and of course, PUMPKIN!
6. Bucket showers.
Little did we know how refreshing showering by bucket could be! After our hot days of planting hundreds of trees and rows of lemongrass, pouring that cool pail of water overhead couldn’t have felt better.
5. A competitive match of footie (aka. soccer!) with a local high school team.
They were darn skilled, but we held our own.
4. Community connections.
Ockenden’s presence in the surrounding community is incredible. From school children to aging farmers, they support community growth and sustainable agriculture.
3. Going vegetarian.
Some of us were a worried that we wouldn’t be eating meat for our time on the farm, but our eyes were quickly opened and stomachs quickly satisfied by the amazing meatless fare we ate. So much so, that we plan to integrate it back at home, eating less meat in our diets.
2. Sleeping under the stars.
Sleeping on raised wooden platforms with mosquito nets and just bamboo mats beneath our bodies was far more comfortable than we imagined. The open-air shelter and waking up to the sun each morning made this one of our favourite places to stay.
Ockenden’s volunteer coordinator and our amazing host and permaculture mentor. As someone once said, “Sokha is Cambodia”. He works with compassion and endless energy – he is the epitome of communities helping themselves; and with a silliness and smile that you can only love to boot!