Guitar and makeshift coconut drumming, swimming, psars, riverfront cruise, discussions on issues of justice here, ice cream (which actually turned out to be a front for a brothel, leaving the taste of ice cream bitter on our tongues), sunsets with city line of Hindu and Buddhist architecture, coconut, smells I’ve never smelled before, patterns, lights, renewed city... I should start to upload some photos.
These past few days we have travelled as a group to the Killing Fields and S-21. We went to Angkor Wat, and on a boat ride along the river. We saw how the silk makers live on the water and in quite a beautiful community... the outdoor community is everywhere. I thought everyone was outside all of the time until we drove through the night celebrations on Victory Day. We are spending this week at different organizations working on closing down systems of injustice that have been keeping children on the streets, and women from being prostituted. In all of our studying, it is really good to be working with these organizations. I feel like this is very much something that I will continue to take with me.
I hope to get to learn some of the dances everyone does at night in the parks. It looks really fun.
S-21 was a high school turned into a torture, detainment and execution residence for prisoners of the Khmer Rouge. The Killing fields were a ‘dumping ground’ for the inconvenienced overpopulation of people needing to be killed off at S-21. These are the centers which have been preserved and are open to the public, but are only one of many throughout Cambodia. (An estimated 1.7 million people were killed under Pol Pot.)
Our tour guides have very personal connections with the history here – as does everyone here. I am seeing the importance of a group of people healing with themselves. A goal of some of the organizations we work with is to enable people to help themselves – and have people helping their own people. I really like their method and find little social conflict/problem with sustainability in my studying of these organizations.
I am falling more in love with Cambodia with every experience. I will ever understand or feel the deep loss as they do (or I hope not anyways), yet I am mourning with them. It is really amazing to see how safely and lovingly we treat each other here - I pray repetitively in my mind as a process of mourning: 'God please... please bless the Khmer people'.
At first our excitement with our tuk-tuk driver Pat/Pot/Bot/Bod was clearly one sided – its easy to look excited to see familiar faces when it gets you good business. But as the days have progressed – we have had a few really nice conversations, and he takes care of us well. I am happy every day to see Pot.
Our group of students went to New Life church yesterday morning and the first person I met was named Molly. Apparently it’s a Khmer name! I will connect with her this week and hopefully have a chance to see the city with a resident woman who is the same age is me.
If you want the information for the group blogging so you can read entries daily from my classmates' similar experiences/yet different perspectives - email me and ill give you a sign in name/password.