thoughts about cambodia

it’s dusty.  until monsoon-like torrents of rain pelt the streets and tarps and shacks that people live in.  and the rain fills the streets and turns dirt roads to swamps of mud.

extremely rich and extremely poor coexist.  side by side.  i’ve never seen so many lexuses in all my life. but people continue to elect this government because at least it is peaceful.  after 3 decades of war, cambodians just want peace and the chance of a good life.

motos motos everywhere.  on every street corner, everywhere you turn, they are there.  waiting for you to believe that it should cost $5 to get across town.  but once you’re out of the tourist areas, the moto drivers become human once again, and white people aren’t walking dollar signs.

i’m amazed at the resilience and tenacity of the cambodian people.  1/4 of the population died during the Khmer Rouge regime.  poverty, unemployment and corruption are still rampant.  yet they have hope.  and they still smile their beautiful, shy smiles.  with a great sense of humor they take on the world.

sometimes i laugh and sometimes i cry.  wave after wave of new emotions hit me with tidal force.  we’ve picked up and moved across the world because we believe it’s the right thing to do.  sometimes i forget what i heard in the light and i wonder what in the world we’re doing here – in one of the poorest countries in asia.  surrounded by garbage (no recycling programs here!), and street dogs and bad roads and poor national infrastructure, and electricity that is fed by diesel 100% of the time, and government officials who drive around in very expensive cars.

but i want to be apart of the change.  apart of the hope.  not the great white hope – cause Cambodians themselves have the power to create change, but I want to be apart of helping Cambodians get there – through education and training, and telling their stories to people in Canada who want to get involved but don’t know how.

so i’ll leave this internet cafe with my head held high and i won’t lash out at the next moto driver who asks me if i want a ride.  but i’ll smile and say no thanks and pray that the same spirit of truth and love and incredible compassion that was in Jesus will be in me too.


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