Claire in Cambodia #4

It is time to say goodbye to Cambodia and during my last weekend, I went to Siem Reap to visit the Angkor Wat. It was an amazing trip and I was speechless to see these magnificent temples and ancient culture of the Angkor Empire.

It is said that the Angkor Wat is the oldest Gothic architecture in the world. When I was walking in the winding corridor and seeing delicate craves on the stone walls. I imagined that how flourished the Angkor Empire was like in the 12th century and how wise people are at that time to build such a wonderful palace for the King.

The old trees in some temples surprised me and I felt that I was wandering in a ancient wonderland. These trees must have witnessed the vicissitude of different dynasties. Exposing their snake-like roots, some ancient trees twist around the roofs, the corridors and the windows of the temples. When I saw these roots, a word appeared in my mind: fearless.  I was thinking of the power of life and of the nature.

Angkor Wat is definitely a diamond of Cambodia and also a heritage of all human beings.  After visiting the Angkor Wat, I harvested more complicated feelings to Cambodia and its people. I feel pity for what this ancient land has been through and how much this country has suffered from the war, from the Khmer Rouge and from the post-war incidents. I saw some disabled local people singing and playing instrument to raise money at the entrance to the temples of the Angkor Wat. They got serious injury because some mines which were laid during the war have not been cleaned off after the war ended. When I stopped at a local store, I was followed by some children who were asking me for buying their crafts in the basket. I asked them: Do you go to school? Who let you do this? They do not answer me but just said :” Buy! Buy! Only one dollar”. These children made me think of the children in my class in DK Schoolhouse. Their eyes are all bright and their voices are all childish but maybe education is a luxury to the former. 

Back to my internship and my one-month stay in Cambodia, I would like to say it is an amazing journey for me. During my internship in DK Schoolhouse, I harvested a wonderful memory staying with a group of adorable angles. Through teaching them, I also taught myself a lot of things I neglected as an adult in my daily life. I think they are dreams, innovation, simplicity… Through working with the staff of the DK Schoolhouse, I learnt how to communicate with people from totally different backgrounds: you have to respect their culture and identity; you can share your culture and identity but must in a humble manner.

 I appreciate that I met me landlord’s family in Phnom Penh. They treated me like their family and friend. My landlord got a good sense of humor and we always shared a lot funny or interesting experiences during our breakfast time.  I also grasped a larger picture of the real life of  Cambodian people and have a deeper understanding of contemporary social issues of Cambodia by talking with my landlord and his family. My landlord’s wife is deft at making crafts. She taught me how to reuse the water bottles and how to decorate them to turn them into beautiful vases for the flowers. Every day when I went home and saw those fresh flowers, I felt the atmosphere of “home”.

If one day I am back to Cambodia, I  will go to see the children and teachers in DK Schoolhouse and go to visit my landlord’s family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *