Thursday, July 16, 2015

Draft: Final Reflections from Cambodia

Well I'm writing this from a clinic hospital bed in Cambodia with an IV stuck in my hand. Not exactly how we planned to spend our last 2 days here. However, I'm overwhelmed by feelings of gratitude, admiration, and humility. You would expect that after an experience of getting sick and an unexpected overnight hospital stay (full of needle pricks, unfamiliar medicines, and toilet breaks) that I would be turned off to the country. I feel the exact opposite. When thinking about it, I hope to come back one day, mostly for these 3 reasons:

- to show the Ta Prohm Temple to people that I love. Yes Angkor Wat is the main attraction, and I'm glad to have seen it, but Ta Prohm will be deeper in my memory. It's an incredible showcase of the power of nature and time, and shows how insignificant human activity can be. It's possible one day our entire earth will look like these buildings, covered over in plants and trees.

- to learn more about the Khmer Rogue genocide in the 1970s. Before coming here I was only vaguely aware of it, and it seems that even my awareness was higher then most Americans. Between 1975 and 1979 they killed 20-25% of the population. That's statistically at least 1 person from every single family. The details include forced labor, starvation, forced relocation, prisons, rape, terrible torture methods that made me sick reading about it, kneeling people over mass graves then cutting their heads off, and removing everyone's gall bladder (through their back) to sell, sometimes before and sometimes after they killed them. I can't even begin to fathom it. Anyone currently aged 40 or older was at least 10 years old when it began, so must still have a complete memory or it. I almost...

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