Existing Member?

Living Outside the Box What is freedom for if not the chance to define for yourself who you are?

August 24 - the past week

CAMBODIA | Saturday, 24 August 2013 | Views [485]

Dusty feet.

Dusty feet.

To preserve you is no gain; to destroy you is no loss.” Slogan shouted by the Khmer Rouge

All personal life outlawed.

Under the leadership of Brother Number One, Pol Pot, Cambodia sank into darkness of ignorance, into the kingdom of death.

 During my time, I saw some terrible things.  It shook my whole body.  I was so scared I could not speak.  Even though the people asked, Are you deaf?  Are you mute? I always shook my head.  There were no words.  Just work and work.  No talking.  No looking at anyone.  No looking at the sky, nothing.  We could only look at the sky if we were away from the Khmer Rouge. – U Sam Oeur, born in 1943.  He is the first major Cambodian poet in the west.

 These are excerpts taken from the current book I am reading, “In the Shadow of Angkor”, contemporary writing from Cambodia.  It has been an eye-opener about the tragedy Cambodia has suffered and continues to emerge from.  Rithy Panh, a highly acclaimed Cambodian filmmaker, produced the documentary called “Bophana: A Cambodian Tragedy” and that is high on my list to watch when I return to the USA.   Before I leave I will also go to the Killing Fields and S-21 Detention Center in Phnom Penh.

Next week I will see another side of Cambodia where the golden age of the Khmer Empire took place, Angkor.  There are approximately 1,000 archaeological sites found on 3,000 square kilometers of plains around the area.  My guide book says most people see about 10-20 sites while at Angkor.  With buying a three day pass, I will have 3 days and a bicycle to see what I can see.  Highlights for me will be seeing the fig trees devouring the monuments at Ta Prohm and sunrise with the masses at Angkor Wat.

This past week was the last week with having four volunteers at Kep Gardens so I took some afternoons off to stay in Kep to watch sunsets and to view the full moon.  I would come back in the mornings to teach math and then hop back on the bike fighting the wind to return to Kep.

Last weekend the winds were gusty too but I didn’t know the extent of it until I turned around to bike back to Kep.  The three hour outing to see the salt fields and small fishing villages along the coast and to a distant Buddhist temple was scenic and a bit grueling when it came to biking on the path that was quickly becoming flooded by the incoming tide.  At one point my foot got stuck in the mud and the bike fell on its side and a local lady was right there to help but I managed to pull myself out.   I was also doing this in the heat of the day making for a hot and sweaty ride.  But, it was beautiful and peaceful so I am glad I made the effort.  My reward was a swim at a pool and a lovely meal on the veranda.

I brought along some logic games from ThinkFun and they are a big hit with the students, especially the students who are teachers themselves.  These games are well thought out with design, directions, and packaging.  Even the other volunteers like the challenge of the games.  I see these games as a valuable learning resource for all levels of English learners.  Now the question is, how to get more of these games out there?

Kep Gardens said good-bye to another two BeMore Volunteers on Thursday.  The bunkhouse is down to two volunteers and Fido the faithful dog when it is storming outside.



Travel Answers about Cambodia

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.