Cambodia: Lasting Impressions . . .

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February 13th 2013
Published: February 18th 2013
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Fishing for food in mud . . .Fishing for food in mud . . .Fishing for food in mud . . .

A boy fishes for food in mud left over from the wet season
From the wonders of Angkor Wat to the horrors of the Killing Fields. From the beautiful views of the ocean and jungle to some of the nicest people I have ever met, Cambodia, like India, leaves a lasting impression within you. . .

We have spent time with people, who have nothing, and all they wanted to do was teach us a few words in Cambodian or invite us into their meal time so we could taste real Cambodian food. We have met some real characters who have highlighted what a great sense of humour these people have after everything they have been, and are still, going through. A people that laugh and smile, with such sencerity, yet their country is still in the grip of poverty and an under lying current of corruption. . .

A story of a famliy we stayed with in Cambodia:

An Australian business man comes to Cambodia and falls in love with the place. He sells his business in Australia and moves to Cambodia creating business including the place we stayed in. Whilst here he takes 2 Cambodian lads under his wing and helps them recognise a life changing future. Jake has had to be bought back from the Vietnamese army! and the Australian business man pays $60 a month to keep him out of there, so he has any chance of a future. Whilst working as a tuk tuk driver in Phnom Penh he is told he needs education and is helped by the Australian and older Cambodian through University. Jake is 23 years old now and is one of the lads that work at the place we stayed in. He works 7 days a week from 6 a.m until 11 p.m carving his craft that will help build his future (wages are around $60 a month in Cambodia). Whilst we were there Jake and his fiancee excepted a life changing oppurtunity to run a small supermarket and coffee shop in Kep through the knowledge they had learnt from University and from working extremely hard at the place we stayed at. The offer they have excepted is quite possibly a future Jake could never have dreamed of had it not been for little direction from great people.

This isn't a story of heroism or personal fulfillment, it is a story of giving people an oppurtunity to help themselves. Like the old story goes "don't give a man a fish, teach him how to fish so he can feed himself for the rest of his life". Unfortunatley I suspect these kind of stories are rare in Cambodia. We have met lots of Cambodian people who work their souls out to create a life for themselves and rarely have we heard a moan from any of them. The girls that worked at our place worked hard from morning till night and could be heard laughing and singing thorughout the day and I never saw any of them without a smile on their faces!

Whilst travelling around Cambodia I have read books about personal stories from people who survived the Khmer Rouge regime and watched documentaries . . . I have trecked through jungle on my own and tried to imagine what it must have been like to escape the Khmer Rouge and try to survive the jungle dreaming of reaching the Thai border to freedom . . . In the back of my mind has always been what these people have been through and how they have triumphed to become such a great people again. . .

Cambodia has been an amazing experience, the food, the history, the culture and most of all . . .the people 😊


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