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Cambodia

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Cambodia

Post by minimom on February 13th 2008, 7:11 pm

Hello to all,

My husband and I have just returned from our trip to SE Asia (Cambodia, with a quick trip to Thailand) to visit our son and daughter-in-law. Cambodia is such a poor country, lots of beggars and street kids, 13 million people in a country the size of Oklahoma, with twice the population density of anywhere in the USA. People everywhere, reminded me of an ant colony, crawling over each other. Phnom Penh is about 30 years behind Bangkok, which has some pretty amazing supermalls (Wi-Fi escalators and electronic directories). If any of you are so inclined, Cambodia needs our help (education, nutrition, sanitation, irrigation, etc.). The government is still pretty corrupt, pocketing money meant for citizens, and teachers are not very well educated themselves. We visited Tuol Sleng genocide museum and learned that from 1975-79 the Khmer Rouge executed 1 to 2 million Cambodians, mostly the educated and intellectual. Some are still alive who participated in the killings and feel no remorse for what they did. Many pictures of the executed are displayed, such a horrible waste and destruction of their country. So sad, my daughter-in-law was crying by the time we left. Cambodia is struggling and trying to recover... However, the people I met were sweet and very responsive to Andrew and Natalie's attempts to speak their language. They have learned to communicate very well in their 10 months there. The written language is still Sanskrit, lots of curli-ques and not the easiest to read.

I found a textbook, Cambodia's Medicinal Plants, in a Phnom Penh bookstore, but no pictures, expensive, and no time to peruse like I wanted. Candis has a SE Asia trip planned later this year, sounds totally interesting...

I am planning to go back later for a couple of months to help in whatever Andrew and Natalie decide to do for the Khmer people. They will soon be moving to a smaller town, Kampot, south of Phnom Penh near the coast. One possible idea is to open a school for children, and also teach the people new skills (perhaps something for the ladies to make for selling). Their main goal is to make friends and teach them of the love of Christ, within the context of their own culture.

So, if you get a chance to go to Cambodia, please go. Peace Corps, Partner in Progress...there are organizations you can hook up with long or short-term.

Hope all of you are well and happy. Best wishes to all, especially to those 2nd year students!

Keleen

minimom
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Re: Cambodia

Post by Inti on February 13th 2008, 7:33 pm

Wow. What a amazing experience. Your son and daughter in law sound like very special people. It definaitely opens the eyes when you experience another culture like that. WHen I was volunteering at an orphanage in India it changed my life. So many things we get wrapped up in. I know it's all relative but still there's not alot that we as Americans shoudl be complaining about when other countires are living as they are. We are blessed to be living in this great country.

I read about Candis' trip and I'm very interested . I'm taking her Ayuveda course and it would be a great finish to it. I missed the opportunity when I was in Tibet in '00 to learn about Tibetan medicine so I hopw I can get the chance to do that this year.

Would love to see some pictures

Tina
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Re: Cambodia

Post by Admin on February 14th 2008, 3:38 am

Thanks for for update Keleen, alot in one trip for sure. Since your son and daughter-in-law live there now it is more than just a 'trip' though, this is a new chapter in your ever growing and changing life. flower

"Their main goal is to make friends and teach them of the love of Christ, within the context of their own culture."

So important. Faith. Like a Star @ heaven

ally
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Re: Cambodia

Post by minimom on February 14th 2008, 7:16 pm

Tina: You're taking 2nd year AND Candis's class? Woa. What a busy life you lead! So much to learn, though. Whenever you find out, I'd like to know which texts Candis will be using.
Yes, being in a third world country is definitely life changing. At some point you think, "My, my. What a spoiled brat I've become!" I just pray that Cambodia can keep peace. Even though Pol Pot died without being convicted of his crimes, there are those who are clamoring for a trial of Khmer Rouge participants who are still alive. It's a touchy subject for them. Some are ready to put the past behind them, but some are not. Of course.
I'm working on getting pictures into an album. I'll send the link when it's ready.
I'm glad you volunteered at the orphanage. It's the innocent children that can tear at your heart. I had an opportunity to visit one in Cambodia, but something (can't remember what) came up and we didn't go.

Ally: Thanks for your comment on the importance of faith. I feel for the people who struggle and never develop their own, for it is faith that causes your action and reaction...and determines the way you live your life. And a lot of people are just floundering around out there. You can see it in their disordered lives.
A "new chapter" in my ever growing and changing life? Yes, I guess you're right about that! I hadn't thought of it quite that way yet. But so was grandchildren and herb school...how many more new chapters can I add to my book of life?? I wonder.

I miss talking with you guys; thanks for your responses.

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