this is a test.


Course Blog Assignments #9 and 10

Get your minimum TWO done as soon as you can!

#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.

#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 faceles 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?


The Sounds of Morning – Takeo Village

A dog barks

Someone quietly moves pots in the open-air kitchen behind the house

An unseen gecko clicks seven times near the bedroom window

Across the roadside stream a TV voice rambles like a sports announcer in Khmer

Water is dipped with a small plastic pot from a large cistern then poured slowly into another bowl

A rooster crows

Birds in the trees are greeting each other

A motorcycle rumbles past the church courtyard

A radio voice sounds- an Islamic call to prayer chanting, then pausing, then a dip in the tone – mournful yet sweet

Footsteps – soft fleshy toes padding across the cool tile floors

A rooster crows

A moto revs and putz putz putzes to a stop nearby

Women talk at the worktable out back as they chop the fruit

Several footfalls race past – flip flops splatting against the fine gravel and dirt between the house and the church

More voices – sleepy English greetings, looking for drinking water

Beyond the concrete wall at the neighbors large saws begin their zumming

A rooster crows

International Justice Mission

On Thursday we visited IJM headquarters in Phnom Penh. We learned how they work within the justice system of Cambodia to target businesses involved in sex trafficking with young children and girls under 18. Director Patrick spoke passionately about his work and some of IJM’s successes in the past year. His presentation opened our eyes to the brokeness and exploitation happening around us in this city, how especially young girls are lured into the business naively and then become trapped.


If I lure you with satin ribbons for your hair,

you might not mind the rough twine adornments around your wrists.

I promised you an exquisite crown.

Once it’s fitted snuggley, you will be too busy dabbing the blood from its delicately-fashioned points

to notice the shackles around your ankles.


Assignment #7 The Two Sides of Developement in Cambodia

Jake Lampen

In the two days at the conference I saw many presentations by Cambodians about Law, agriculture, and economics. While listening to those presentations and the resulting question and answer time I felt that there were two major views of development for Cambodia. The frist view had speed being the key to development. They feel that Cambodia has been on the bottom for too long and needs to enter the world stage as soon as possible. This means bringing in machines for harvesting and producing oil and becoming more like other countries. The other side wants to retain their culture and heritage. They want to develop but they want to keep the essence of Cambodia for ever embedded in this country.

So what should they do? The quicker the development the sooner the standard of living raises and the sooner some comfort can be restored to a country that has had an unfair share of bad experiences. But, the Cambodian culture is beautiful in very many ways. I personally would say taking a slower road and preserving the culture would be better (but that is easy to say when I’m going back to my  own country in about a week and am not going to be a part of the journey long or short.) Development will happen and has happened. I’ve been told that Cambodia is developing very fast and I’ve noticed that the cities have many different morals from the small villages. Whether Cambodia can develop quickly while retaining its culture only time can tell.

Course Blog Assignments #5 and #6

#5: On Friday, January 13, we spent the morning volunteering at Dail, preparing and serving lunch to hundreds of children. Later in the day we took a boat tour on the Tonle Sap lake and saw where some of the children who had eaten at the Dail program live. Reflect on this day and what role the Dail program plays in “good development.”


#6: On Saturday, January 14, we toured three of the temples of the Angkor Complex. Reflect on this day and how it changes your understanding or perspective on Cambodian culture. Also, which of the three main temples that we toured did you find most interesting and why?


A house in the village

From Professor Pruim

Delighted eyes, high cheekbones and a bright smile frame her young face as she jiggles a kitten by its front legs in front of my nose before giggling and running away. I am a visitor and this is her home. I am standing in the scant shade of nearby foliage looking at a 10’ x 10’ box on stilts. On the dusty ground near my feet are an upside-down bowl, a small cracked plastic plate, and a 2-foot wide domed cage woven of grasses with a hen underneath. Chicks dart in and out between the grass “bars”. A puppy scampers between the legs of another child and under the house.

“You can go in.” Our interpreter motions to the doorway. There is no door. I can just see a bit into the darkness and wonder if they tidied up for us.  In five times of coming to Cambodia and working for NIBC, this is the first time we have been invited into a village to see really close up how some of the school children live. A few Calvin students slip off their shoes and climb up the four bamboo rungs of the slanted ladder and through the doorway. The rest must wait outside; the house is too small for more than a few visitors at a time.  More village children gather around. We are the entertainment of the day. My students smile and wave. “Soo-es-dtay!” (Hi!) The children squeal, laugh and wave. “Hello!” the oldest ones try their fledgling English. I smile and swat at mosquitos.

The family in this house is being introduced by our interpreter Ti-fa. Four children line up with tattered clothes and convincing smiles. The parents of the village seem to be mostly gone. Where? Fishing. More village children gather around. A girl rides up on a small bike. Her baby brother sits in front of her on the seat grasping the handle bars. I know it’s a little boy.  He has no clothes on.

It’s my turn to see the inside of the house. I manage not to slip on the smooth rungs and step into the darkness. My toes can slip between the narrow bamboo slats of the floor. As my eyes adjust I can see the two spaces of the house. Kitty corner from me a smaller square is partially defined by some drab hanging cloth. Through that doorway I can glimpse a few brown cloths strewn on the floor and mosquito nets hanging – the bedroom. Straight ahead at the far wall must be the kitchen with its arrangement of stones on the floor and the one pot resting on top. I wonder if the serious hole in the woven leaves of the far wall is for light and ventilation or just a product of the frail building materials and the dry season. To my left I notice a pretty empty space. Another drab cloth lies on the floor slats. Suddenly I wonder if the bulk of our well-fed, strapping young men would be too much weight for the floor and the ladder. Did they fit in here? I look up at a rippled metal roof.  The roof line is slanted slighted and a 6 foot person could stand in here especially at the tallest point.

As I clumsily make my way down the ladder, I remember that book from years ago: Material World, a coffee table book that showed different families from all over the world photographed along with their worldly possessions hauled out in front of whatever structure they lived in. It would take this family 15 minutes to get ready for that picture, maybe only 10 … maybe not even. I estimate it might take me several days and the assistance of several muscular people.


A: That was amazing. I am so glad we got see a real village.

B: It’s like a neighborhood, right?

C: Yeah. Do you think they let us see their village and homes because we’re working at the school?