Sitting in the Seoul airport and thinking how cold that white stuff on the ground is. I think that it is called snow. When I shovel the driveway next week I will think back to the warm waters at the coast.
We only have one more flight to go to get to Chicago. True it is a 14ish hour flight…
Just a quick note: We are back in PP and had a wonderful time at the farm and a wonderful day at the coast.
Today we have a slow day with a final dinner meeting with CRWM, CRWRC, GCT etc before catching our evening flight.
If all goes well, we should be back on Calvin’s campus around 3:00pm on Friday.
We do have a winner for our 2nd blog question. I will announce it later when I get a chance to sort through my inbox.
Thank you all for your prayers and support during this trip! Please pray for safe travels, comfortable seats, and healthy bodies.
#9: Reflect on the Khmer Rouge by commenting on some of the following: the ECCC trials going on now, our dinner and time with Theary Seng (Daughter of the Killing Fields), our visit to the Killing Fields Memorial outside Phnom Penh, and our visit to the detention and torture center museum/memorial in PP. You might choose to include insights into how this holocaust history perhaps affects Cambodia today or how these experiences affected you personally.
Its been a sobering couple of days, taking a closer look at the horrors of the Khmer Rouge. Yesterday we visited the infamous Tuol Sleng torture prison. An estimated 15,000 Cambodians were detained here over its three years of operation – just around 200 survived.
What struck me most about this facility was its location; Tuol Sleng sits right in the middle of Phnom Penh. It blends into the city – you wouldn’t even know it was there if you weren’t looking for it…I didn’t. We ate dinner at a restaurant right across the street from it earlier this week and I had no idea. I didn’t even realize we had reached our destination yesterday until the bus stopped. I guess I had expected most of the detention camps would lie in the countryside rather than the city. Though during its time of operation Phnom Penh had been evacuated, everyday life now continues all around the grounds of Tuol Sleng. Its walls and barbed wire provide an ominous reminder of the horrors of the Khmer Rouge to countless locals every day.
It has been apparent since being in Cambodia that the reign of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot still affect the people here. Which is completely understandable – it’s hard to believe these atrocities occurred just 35 years ago. In other words, everyone in this country over the age of 35 felt the effects of the Khmer Rouge first hand. When we met with Theary Seng, she agreed, mentioning that Pol Pot’s regime destroyed Cambodians trust in one another. She also stated that Cambodians have put up with a subpar governnment for a long time now but are afraid to do anything about it for fear of a repeat of a painful history.
The pain of an entire country is not easily healed…
It has been a wonderful time so far. Today we said goodbye to our HILS friends, some of them went back home to Korea today while others are moving to housing in PP as they are staying for a few months for internships.
Tomorrow we will travel to the rural ESA farm (Eden school of Agriculture). This is a farm owned by Navy and Ly We will be staying in a shelter building sleeping under mosquito nets for the rest of our time here. This will be a great experience but, alas, we will not have access to the internet so after we leave in the morning we will have limited access to our blog. A good rule would be “no news is good news”.
Please pray that we will have safe travels, and be able to connect with the people from the local villages.
Leonard De Rooy
Jay Gabbard here with a response to question #10. It reads..
#10: As our time in Cambodia draws to a close, the final course blog assignment is to craft a prayer – your prayer for Cambodia and its people. You can be concrete and pray specifically for some of the organizations we visited and the people you met, but you may also pray for the faceless names or the nameless faces you have become aware of and your fellow students and yourself. What is your hope and prayer as we exit and return to our lives back in North America?
I ask that you would continue to develop this country that has gone through a horrifying period of history. I can say that it is evident you are working in big ways through these people. I am serious when I say there is a lot of hope here. Give strength and hope to the Cambodians that are weak. Reveal to them your power and presence Lord. Place people in their lives that can spread your word and reveal who you are. Give boldness to those who know you. Stretch them beyond their own comfort and give them perseverance.
Lord I also pray for CRWRC. I thank you for their vision and thoughtful process of bringing the love and community you push us to seek. Continue to bring peace and joy to anyone involved with the organization and for those who find pain and struggle, lift them up. Push them to seek you when they are low. Encourage them in their walk. I pray for the community organizers that they would listen to the needs of the people and elect the right leaders. For any people helping support CRWRC, I ask that you would make clear their support is going a long way.
Lord I lift up Theary Seng, author of “Daughter of the Killing Fields” who met with us last night for dinner. I want to ask you to give her wisdom Lord as she works to bring justice to the Khmer Rouge Trials. Give her hope and clarity through this difficult time. I also ask that you would give her balance with her work. Help her to cut out time aside from work to be involved in community. Place individuals in her life that can foster healthy community and let her know she is loved.
Lastly, I ask that you would give our group health. Currently, some of the students are running fevers and signs of malaria.. Help us find strength in you and know you never leave our side. As we change pace and head to the farm, help us to be safe and wise. Keep us in your hands Lord.
Father God, thank you for all that you have done with us thus far in Cambodia and I ask that you would continue to strengthen us. Help us to acknowledge you in all that we do.
In your sons heavenly name,
I added some more photos to the flickr account. You can find them here:
Pictures of the Tuol Sleng and Killing fields – may not be appropriate for smaller children. Not many pictures with students.