A reflective: Home Stay – Sambor Prei Kuk, Cambodia (2015)

This has got to be one of the most heart-warming experiences I’ve ever had in another country.

As part of a 9 day trip through Cambodia, I spent a night with this warm and welcoming Cambodian family in the village of Sambor Prei Kuk just a few hours out from (and on the way to) Phnom Penh.

The biggest highlight was being escorted by Ox & Cart through the village (which felt a bit like we were on parade) and on to a local English teaching school for the local children – What an amazing experience. So jovial and keen, the children literally ran up to us to the group so excited to test their English on us.

After so games to acquaint us, I was then recruited to play football  (and I wasn’t the last picked!! lol)… Now, for those of you who have travelled to countries near or on the equator, but this was a tough game! The local boys had a great time, laughing and running rings around us as we melted in the tropical heat – I haven’t sweated that much in a very long time!!! buckets!

This is one of my favourite collections

As the sun began to set, we rallied ourselves together said our farewells to their little smiling faces and boarded our Ox chariots for our village home.  The ride back was just as interesting.  We past more homes, another night school and streets dotted with curious residents, the children waving as we pasted.  I noticed that there is a great absence of the elderly here and, I didn’t know it then, but reflecting back after visiting the capitol this is one of the effects of the heart-breaking atrocities Khmer Rouge did to its people. It was eye-opening to see their daily lives and understand why this recent traumatic history is not taught to children until they can process and understand what happened to their grandparents and those who survived to rebuild…  It’s said that, if you see anyone of the age of 70-80 years, they were probably with the Khmer Rouge and thus survived this long…!!

Throughout this whole 9-day trip, I concluded that I truly commend Cambodians on how happy they seem to be and how warm and friendly they treat not just each other but also to us, their guests.

 

Next stop, S21, shock and tears as I came face-to-face this labour camp and learnt the harsh realities of this country’s past…

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