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Recap Video from Cambodia 2011

We wanted to share this video from our 2011 MC Gives Back trip to Cambodia.

Repurposing Our Company’s Mission

A message from Brad Squires, Vice President at Maintenance Connection:

As we fly home from Cambodia, I am reflecting on a very important week in the life of Maintenance Connection. Our visit to Cambodia marks the beginning of the re-purposing of our company’s mission. For over 10 years, we have been creating leading edge software solutions and we will continue to do that for many years to come. We have developed a sustainable service model and a team who knows how to deliver excellence to our customers. And now we add to our mission an increased commitment to create real connections with people around the world who may not otherwise benefit from the skills and resources the Maintenance Connection team is able to offer.

Maintenance Connection now exists to create and support world-class software solutions which provide resources to make a positive impact on people around the world. We do this by leading with new technology, delivering an unmatched level of service excellence to our customers, and maintaining a unique culture of high-caliber employees.

We kept very busy this week working hard, having fun, and getting to know the culture and the people of Cambodia. We made new friends. We stepped outside our comfort zone. We worked alongside people we would not normally work with. I am personally very proud to be a part of a group that has proven they understand how to give back, and I was impressed by the generosity of the MC team. Each person made a sacrifice in some way this week which created an amazing statement to the people of Cambodia. And I am certain that the impact was not just for others. We return to our normal lives with a renewed perspective on what is important and how much sweeter it is to give than receive.

My hope is that the spirit of giving back continues to run deep into the lives of those we’ve met. And I am eagerly looking ahead to continue our connection with Young Life Cambodia while seeking new MC Gives Back projects for years to come.

 

 

That’s a Wrap

What an amazing week! We arrived in Cambodia not knowing exactly what projects we would be tackling. We knew there was a need to network the computers and give the Young Life leaders tools to teach more effectively. We were able to wire computer networks in three community centers and two high schools where Young Life teaches. We gutted and painted a new computer lab at one of the high schools, and relocated all of their computers. Our team built relationships with the Cambodians, and made an impact we hope will last a long time. And the last day, some of our team even spent an hour making paper airplanes with several little kids who have been watching us work all week.

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A Life Shaping Experience

Winston Churchill once said, “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” This is the heartbeat of why we created our MC Gives Back initiative, and we’re really experiencing this firsthand this week. For some, this week has been life shaping. It’s helped us focus in on important things, and appreciate all that we have.

Today was another day full of sweat and fun. Some of the team ran hundreds of feet of CAT5 network cables between computers at one of the high schools. Others painted the new computer room at the other high school, and upgraded and relocated each of the computers to their new location. But we all gave back in some way and lived a day that was not about ourselves, but rather about serving our new friends in Cambodia – and it was a good day.

The Cambodian Young Life leader, Pyneath, told our group today that students commented to him Monday after we finished teaching English class that he invited “giants” to spend the week with them. And we have been gathering quite a crowd at the high school while working hard moving, cleaning, and painting. Apparently, the locals are intrigued by a group from the United States who actually works so hard. We’re taking the comment in stride and considering it as a compliment 🙂

Our day finished with small group dinners at several of the students’ homes. These were very eye opening experiences, including canoe-only access to some of the rural homes due to recent area flooding. The food and hospitality were very authentic, and a great example of them giving back to us.

Thursday will be our final day of onsite work. If all goes according to plan, we’ll have networked nearly 100 computers at five locations, and have a brand new freshly painted computer classroom. This experience has certainly helped us all reinforce the idea that it’s better to give than receive. We hope it affects us and our new friends in a positive way for many years to come.

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The Tech Team

A major part of our effort in Cambodia was to create a local network for the Young Life classrooms. Maintenance Connection, being a software company, employs many people who are trained and knowledgeable about these things. So while several others on the team were busy cleaning, moving and painting – the “tech team” spent countless hours running CAT5 wire, testing configurations, upgrading PCs, and setting up the networks. Customers may recognize some of the people from the tech team – Chad Marsh, Jeremy Corbitt, Ken Shampo, Tom Rocco, Cary Yocum, and Joel Mayer. Here are a few photos from their experience.

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Videos from Cambodia

Here are a few videos from our week in Cambodia.

Getting Our Hands Dirty in Cambodia

Our new friends from Young Life in Cambodia have asked for some help upgrading their computer centers, so that’s our primary goal for the week. Several hundred local high school students attend both on campus and off campus English and computer classes taught by the Young Life staff. Their computers are in okay shape, but need to be networked together and upgraded with better software to properly train the students with skills to be successful in life.

The principal from one of the high schools offered Young Life the use of a more secure room for the onsite computer training lab. So one of our team’s project today (and the next few days) was to clean up, paint, install new flooring, move computers, and set up a network at this high school. Another team worked at another youth center today installing software and configuring the network.

Students and staff from Young Life have been very gracious in making amazing Khmer-style lunch feasts for us every day. We came hoping to serve these new friends, but they go out of their way to make sure we are having a good time. A favorite of the team was a very unusual round, red, sweet fruit covered with spikes, and the inside having the texture of a grape – but no one knows what it’s called.

After lunch, our MC Gives Back team dove right in getting our hands dirty (literally) at the high school. The large donated storage room had not been touched for many years, so we sorted through and relocated piles of old TVs, computers, spiders, and plenty of dirt. We plan to repaint the walls tomorrow, so we spent several hours scraping paint from the walls and cleaning up.

We finished the day at the hotel enjoying Cambodian style pizza some of which came with hot dogs in the crust. And there was a very interesting seafood pizza which didn’t seem to make it to anyone’s top 10 favorite foods of Cambodia.

Great week so far giving back. We have our work cut out for us with three high schools and threes youth centers, but we have a great team who is eager to make an impact.

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Chom Reap Suor – Hello from Cambodia!

Our MC Gives Back team arrived in Cambodia after 20 long hours of flying from the US. Arriving in the morning and jet-lagged, we opted to stay the course and skip a much desired nap. A California youth camp donated 11 boxes of computers which we brought with us for the Young Life Cambodia team. Our first exciting experience was to see how we could fit all 11 boxes and each of our luggage in the bed of one of our host’s small pickup truck. As you can see from the picture, this was a very different method than we are used to. 
We spent Saturday and Sunday visiting the S21 Museum and the killing fields, learning about the tragic history of Cambodia and the recent genocide where over 2 millions Cambodians were killed by the vicious Khmer Rouge. It was certainly emotional, but has prepared us to really understand the country, it’s people, and has given us another motivation for giving back this week. Our gracious hosts from Young Life have been wonderful to work with and we are very excited to see how our team can make a positive impact while we’re here.
Monday was a day of visiting each of the community centers and high schools where Young Life reaches out. Traveling around the city of Phnom Penh is a much different experience than most of us have ever seen. The many near traffic misses, “tuk-tuk” carts, hundreds of mopeds each making their own path through intersections, along with the very unique sights and smells make travel very interesting.
At the centers we tested and evaluated the donated computers, and made project / shopping lists for the rest of the week. The first goal of our trip is to use the skills of our team to upgrade and network the PCs at the three centers and two high schools, which began today with center #1. The highlight and finish to our first day giving back was the opportunity to teach english class to over 40 Young Life students. Lots of laughs and very entertaining attempts to speak each other’s language made for a fun ending to our first day.

Tomorrow we will dive in again to continue upgrading the PCs and we will begin training the instructors on Microsoft Office and other software programs.

Preview of Cambodia Needs

As we are getting ready to walk out the door to board our flight to Cambodia today, we received a message from the Young Life folks at one of the centers we’re hoping to visit. Apparently, there’s been a major rain storm causing some significant flooding inside the center. We’re buckling in for a wild ride as we head out there, and we hope to play some part in helping this center get back to normal. Here is a photo taken today of some of the students in front of the flooded community center. Guess we should add rain boots to our packing list.

MC Gives Back 2011 – Cambodia

In October 2011, a group of MC staff will be traveling from the United States to Cambodia to give back. We will be partnering with Young Life Ministries, a customer of Maintenance Connection utilizing our flagship facility maintenance software. Young Life currently uses Maintenance Connection’s CMMS to manage facilities within the organization’s youth camps across the US. Through a partnership with Young Life Expeditions, the trip to Cambodia will be a great experience for the MC team as well as the team that currently leads Young Life’s efforts in the country. This will also be the first of what we expect to be many more trips like this in the future through our MC Gives Back initiative.

Young Life currently operates several community centers Phnom Penh where local youth have a safe place to do school work and spend time with friends. The leaders at each center build relationships with the students, provide training, and take every opportunity to invest in their lives. Each of the centers in the country’s capitol city have computer labs where teens can learn valuable skills creating opportunities for their success. Part of our gives back initiative in Cambodia is to provide necessary support and upgrades to their computers in the labs. We will be teaching basic Microsoft Office courses, and may even have the opportunity to spend time teaching conversational English. We will be assessing their facilities and providing a bit of manual labor to paint, build, or do whatever we can to spruce things up a bit. We hope to learn about the culture and take a short break from our busy schedules to do something that we hope will make a difference.

We leave September 30th and will be posting frequent updates during the week of October 3-7 as we give back to Young Life Cambodia.