Archive for August, 2011
At last! Part DEUX! The remainder of these photos include our visits to the genocide museum, the ancient temples of Angkor, and our last week spent in a remote village where we constructed a rain water collection tank (holds up to 44,000 liters of water!) that the villagers can filter their water from.
The genocide museum was one of the most shaking experiences we had there… I knew a little about Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge before we arrived in Cambodia, but I had no clue what kind of tragedy it really was. Over a third of the population in the 70’s- GONE. For no good reason. You walk the streets and literally do not see anyone, especially men, in their 40s, 50s, or 60s… it’s an insane reality, and it baffles me that it’s in our recent history. Our parents’ generation. The emotion that was felt that day is indescribable. I debated whether to post any photos from it simply because I didn’t necessarily want to re-visit it, but I feel like this is something everyone should know about and be exposed to… it MATTERS.
On a lighter note, the temples were unreal! We took a tourist weekend in Siem Reap and had so many adventures including scaling temple walls, riding elephants (which I got to check off my bucket list!), sweating more that we ever thought possible, and just being immersed in such an amazing history. We didn’t have time to see even a portion of the temples there, but we saw the big ones… I highly encourage a visit here! It was EPIC!
The last week was spent in a village where we stayed in a school, sleeping on cots surrounded by mosquito nets. The rains were good to us there, and even though it hindered construction a little bit, it was still so welcome! As I mentioned above, we constructed a giant water tank in a nearby school yard. We mixed a huge load of concrete, and had the privilege of working with some of the most incredible, patient, and hard-working men I’ve ever met. This was the first mission trip I’ve been on where I’ve left feeling like we did what we came there to do… we not only accomplished our missions on the labor side of things, but also made incredible relationships with people. The children were hilarious, and the teachers wanted a photo with our group before we left, along with the kids, as you’ll see at the end… I could talk for days, but instead, enjoy!
Where do I even begin?! First of all, thank you to everyone who has been so patient with me these past several weeks… Between this trip, getting married (I’m now Mrs. Kris Smith!), and setting up house, the past month has been a little bananas! The good news is that I’m back to business, with plenty of time to offer my clients a lot more!
Cambodia rocked me to my core… The wedding made it somewhat difficult to really be still upon our homecoming, and to take the time to reflect and begin to put the pieces together in my mind of what all happened there. I still can’t put my experience into words when someone asks me how it was. The truth is, there really are no words… just memories and the relationships that I made there. My photos are my words. So much so, that I had to break it up into two posts. Even then, they don’t do it justice.
I can tell you this: The people of Cambodia are the most beautiful and spirited people I have ever met. Though quiet and shy most of the time, they know no strangers, and they exhibit the kind of grace and hospitality that shakes your heart… They welcomed us with open arms and displayed what love looks like. The biggest lesson I learned was this: Love is simple, and can be made magnificent by simply loving others. A simple gesture can change the world. The sights we saw were unreal, the food we ate was amazing, the work we did was hard and meaningful, and the people we met were astounding. God is working in incredible ways there, and I can’t wait to return someday… I could go on and on, but for now, enjoy some of the beauty that is Cambodia…
Part II comes later this week!