A Travellerspoint blog

Cambodia - a country that has opened my mind

I have spent the last week in Cambodia and will head to Vietnam on Saturday. I want to share everything I experienced in Cambodia...but if I did this post might never end....
This country has forever changed me... It has opened my mind even more than I thought possible..I consider myself to be someone who is appreciative of life... But being here has taken these feelings to a whole new level.

Here are some of the lighter things I have done while in Cambodia : a visit to Angkor Wat temples, a visit to a floating village,  shopping in markets, eating traditional khmer food , going out with new friends, spending time on a beach, snorkelling, cycling on an island, meeting locals, hiking to a waterfall, seeing children doing traditional dances, riding numerous tuk tuks... Etc 

Mixed in with all these great activities were some very serious experiences including: a visit to the landmine museum, the genocide museum, the killing fields, visit to a children's hospital, homestay in a rural village that was littered with landmines after the war, just being exposed to the poverty (80% of Cambodians are poor)...

In my time here it has become quite obvious that every single Cambodian has been affected one way or another by the dark times in their recent history. During the khmer rouge regime /genocide from 1975-1979 approximately 2 million people died.. People have lost mothers, fathers, siblings...etc And they are still suffering the repercussions today. 

The history of Cambodia is long and complicated and I would definitely recommend doing some  research to find out more about what happened during the genocide. I did not know enough about it before visiting.
There have been several really emotional occasions on this trip. Sadness, anger, frustration, happiness, joy, .... I have felt them all. So many questions have flooded my mind and puzzled me this whole week. One major question constantly emerges as well, a simple "why?". And I realize that no one will have the answer to this question...but I can't help but feel the need to understand why these terrible things happen. At the end of the day I think that the humans involved fail to recognize the human being in the people they are hurting...

Being here also reminds me how fortunate I have been in my life to date.. It's been really difficult to be confronted with the fact that I haven't the slightest clue about struggling or suffering. Why did I get so lucky?

It is also worth mentioning that with all the struggles Cambodians have been through and continue to face..the people here are friendly, smiling and respectful.. It is amazing to see these people persevere. They live so modestly yet they appear happy and joyful. (I really wish I could say the same about Canadians)
I am confident that i will be able to use these experiences for good and I will carry them with me forever. 
I would recommend visiting Cambodia to someone who is interested in the people, the country and the history.  It is not somewhere to come simply for a warm holiday or partying. (although you can definitely do those things here). A visit to Cambodia is about so much more than that....

Posted by sammy18 04:46

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