EGBOK: Providing Service Through Service

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lhanson
Mar 4, 2015


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EGBOK: Providing Service Through Service

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”              -Chinese Proverb

In 2007, Ben Justus was a student of the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University and sailing around the world with the Spring Voyage of Semester at Sea.  Ben’s experience with SAS made him realize his desire to make a difference in the world.  He used that desire paired with his knowledge of the hospitality industry to found EGBOK in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  EGBOK (Everything’s Gonna Be OK) is an international non-profit organization empowering underprivileged young adults with educational training needed to support themselves as hospitality professionals.

Ben Justus spoke with the Semester at Sea group about the history and goals of EGBOK.
Ben Justus spoke with the Semester at Sea group about the history and goals of EGBOK.

Why Cambodia?  Approximately 40% of residents in Cambodia live on less than $2 per day, while the tourism industry is exploding.  Tourist numbers grew from 1 million in 2004 to 4.5 million in 2014.  The growing demand for hotels and restaurants in Cambodia is exceeding the availability of individuals that are properly trained to fill the new positions.  EGBOK is working to provide these young adults with the skills necessary to not only fill these positions in demand, but to advance into supervisor and manager positions in the future as well.

EGBOK opened its doors to a group of Semester at Sea students who were on a field program in Siem Reap.  Ben told his story and gave a tour of the facilities, including classrooms, a mock hotel suite, kitchen, and computer lab.  Then came the real treat however.  The Semester at Sea students were introduced to the EGBOK students where the EGBOK students became the teachers.  They took the skills they had learned in their classes to teach the SAS group some basics of the hospitality industry.  The afternoon and evening of teaching, learning, laughing, and dancing, can only be described in photos (see below), but it was an experience that will not soon be forgotten.

Thank you EGBOK, for showing us the true meaning of hospitality.

For more information on EGBOK, please visit their website: egbokmission.org

SAS students learn how to fold lotus flowers. Top Left: Stefan Muller from Texas Christian University Top Right: Tara Pollak from University World College of the Adriatic Bottom: Santiago Pinan Jaimes from University of the Americas
SAS students learn how to fold lotus flowers.
Top Left: Stefan Muller from Texas Christian University
Top Right: Tara Pollak from University World College of the Adriatic
Bottom: Santiago Pinan Jaimes from Universidad de las Américas Puebla
Stephanie Aguilar Salas from College of St. Elizabeth learns how to roll spring rolls.
Stephanie Aguilar Salas from College of Saint Elizabeth learns how to make spring rolls.
Juliette Chevalier Alfaro from Loyola University Chicago learns a traditional Cambodian dance.  Jerry Vene from University of California Irvine learns to tie a krama, a traditional Cambodian garment.
Juliette Chevalier Alfaro from Loyola University Chicago learns a Cambodian dance, while Jerry Vene from University of California Irvine learns to tie a krama, a traditional Cambodian garment.
Taylor Roesch of the University of Dayton tries some traditional Cambodian snacks with EGBOK students.
Taylor Roesch of the University of Dayton tries some Cambodian snacks with EGBOK students.
Dinner was served outside, with EGBOK students showing the Semester at Sea students how to combine different dishes for the best results.
Dinner was served outside, with EGBOK students showing the Semester at Sea students how to combine different dishes for the best results.

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