What happens when you put four women in one room for a month? A little tension, some adventure, and a lot of success.
An American, An Aussie, a Cambodian, and a Dane agreed to work together to build up a social enterprise in Kampot. Between a couple 11 hour work days, they still found time for cross-cultural language lessons and local adventures.
This is the story of Dorsu, where I have spent the last five weeks working. Together, we rebuilt the company’s website, redesigned the tshirt line, rebranded the look and feel, and still found time for language lessons and adventures. Two of my favourite team getaways were to the “Hidden Waterfall” and to Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island).
After working all morning, we got dropped off by the “Dorsu Tuk Tuk” and started walking past cows and huts where little children played outside. We walked all the way up the mountain, watching locals pile bananas a few feet high on the back of their motos. We passed sugarcane, banana trees, palm trees, winding rivers, and a few critters.
Nearly at the top, we realized we’d taken a wrong turn. Barreling back down the hill, we crossed the river and started up again.
Right when we thought we’d made it, we realized we couldn’t see the waterfall! A local told us they didn’t know where it was but must be close because they’d seen some other “barangs” (white people) in that area earlier. A few mosquito bites, tired legs, sips of water, and rushes of adrenaline later… we found a different banana farmer to guide us through the thick bushes and were greeted with this site:
On the way back down, the Cambodian in the group realized she hadn’t spoken to her husband since leaving and then we all realized it had taken us 4 hours! Laughing, she calls him and simply tells him:
“I’m in the jungle… What’s my plan? I don’t know, I’m in the jungle but maybe I’ll be back soon.”
“It feels like I’ve just been on holiday for 30 days because I’m so refreshed!” – Hanna.
It’s true, our island getaway was just a 40 minute moto ride and 20 minute boat ride from ‘home’ but the serenity of a quiet tropical island looking out into the ocean was enough to refresh our minds and bodies before pummeling through one last week of work.
We drank piña coladas and fresh coconuts on the beach, swam in the warm ocean, read our books, swam in the ocean, walked along the beach, swam in the ocean, ate a seafood feast, and then swam in the ocean again. The key to this was the last swim. By now, it was after dark and I had only gone down to wash my face and feel the salt one last time before bed. My fingers started glowing a bit and I wasn’t sure if I had imagined it. We all tore off our clothes and dove back in the water for a post-dinner swim all the way out to where it was deeper and darker, and we became mermaids. If you’ve never experienced phosphorescence, just imagine yourself a mermaid of luminescent bubbles. Of course I couldn’t capture an image but I found this one elsewhere to explain it: