Tag Archives: Cambodia

The Food

Standard
The Food

The good, the bad and the ugly.

We had marvelous food, with lots of lime wedges on the side.

I sure miss that where I live…

I do not know what some of these things taste like, but the durian was tasty despite the “strong” fragrance.

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

The Children

Standard
The Children

November is Orphan Awareness Month in the United States, and so I will reflect a little.

In Cambodia (and perhaps in other places as well) orphanages have become a hot tourist destination.

In fact, you can even book tours from the West that include a “humanitarian day” at a local orphanage.

Everybody chips in a few bucks, pass it on to the orphanage director, and goes home with peace of mind that the issues have been solved relatively easily.

The reality is much more harsh.

You can read a lot more about it here and here, but the summary is that in fact orphanages may often be used as a money-generating business for the more unscrupulous, taking advantage of cute and vulnerable children and the pity they induce in the wealthy in the name of helping the children.

All this while children are distanced even more from a family and community oriented structure in which to live life and learn to love, build healthy relationships and function in society.

During my very short time in Cambodia, I was privileged to interact with a number of young people both living in orphanage settings as well as those living with their family.

Interestingly, nearly every single child in the orphanages we encountered was not truly orphaned–most had at least one living parent–but abandonment, divorce and poverty played a large role in their current situation.

Children living with their family (parents or other relatives) are, however, not necessarily guaranteed all the basics either.

We were told verbally that perhaps half of the school age children in some of these communities cannot afford to go to school, and many roam around the neighborhoods unsupervised while the adults are trying to make ends meet.

These kids are especially vulnerable and at high risk of going down the road of addiction, abuse, mental illness, child labor, child prostitution, human trafficking and more.

In the spirit of children everywhere, here are some images from this trip to Cambodia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Cambodia: Passing Through

Standard
Cambodia:  Passing Through

I spent 7 days in Cambodia, traveling through several provinces and cities large and small and just returned on the red-eye 2 days ago.

I’m still trying to recover with excessive amounts of coffee drinking, to no avail.

We were part of a medical team cooperating with local contacts who hosted mobile medical clinics in several rural areas as well as at children’s homes (aka orphanages, but that’s another post).

This collection of pictures is a fleeting impression of the country as we zipped through at breakneck speed.

Prior to traveling I had read a book called First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung, detailing her family’s saga during the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s.

I highly recommend the book as an eye-opener about the horrors that were daily life during that period, and which someone else described as “the kidnapping of an entire country.”

I will have to watch Killing Fields soon, I guess.

As we drove through peaceful countryside scenery I was keenly aware that Cambodia still has one of the highest rates of landmines and unexploded ordinances in the world, and that these green fields hid labor camps full of terror for countless children and adults within my lifetime.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Just a Teaser…

Standard

I am in Cambodia for a week doing medical stuff in rural areas.

Here are a few photos that will have to suffice for now since I’m absolutely exhausted!

 

A lovely young mom and her baby we saw in the clinic.

This young man who has lost both parents wants to be a lawyer when he grows up, to help right the injustices he has seen in his country.   He is 15 and nearly at the head of his class.

Here is a little guy whose parents were told he would never walk.  Yet 3 months ago at age 3 he started walking, and our teammate gave some suggestions for physical therapy to strengthen his legs.