This is it, Cambodia.

So Cambodia, a group of 26 calvin students and 3 professors embarked on a 3 week long journey as we engaged development in Cambodia. Our journey started in Bangkok Thailand where we started our journey of visiting NGOs. The one that most stood out to me was the Tamar Center, there they were dealing first hand with the issues of Prostitution as they attempted to bring the girls (and ladyboys) out of the industry. Continue reading "This is it, Cambodia."

Little did I know the hardest part of the trip was waiting for me at home…..

For our last blog post, we have been asked to sum up our thoughts about this interim trip in a short four minute speech. This has been one of the most difficult things I've had to do on this trip. How are we supposed to condense three weeks of experiences into four minutes? Despite my struggles, this assignment has also been very beneficial to me as I process my experiences. I have been forced to decide what are the few things that I have learned that are most important to me. These are the things that I will forever keep in my memory and that I will relay to my friends and family. Continue reading "Little did I know the hardest part of the trip was waiting for me at home….."

Through a Lens

Here are a few pictures and summaries about what we learned during the last week of our course. Cheoung Ek Killing Field
Skulls of some of the victims killed at Choeung Ek.
We spent half a day visiting a place where around 20,000 were murdered. We were able to learn a bit of the history of the Khmer Rouge genocide, hear recorded stories of survivors, and learn of the ways people were killed. One of the most disturbing things I learned about was the Magic Tree. Here, giant speakers were blaring the sounds of music to drown out the sound of people being killed. "These were the last sounds the victims ever heard." Continue reading "Through a Lens"

FInal Blog

As people begin the "hellos", "how was your trip?", and "What did you do there?", I become speechless. There are so many experiences and so much knowledge I want to share, but also so many questions I seem to be wrestling with. I discovered that I cannot fit the whole trip into a sentence. I keep waiting for clarity of what I experienced, but it seems to get fuzzier and fuzzier. I hope to be able to share at least a small glimpse into how my perspective has changed over this past month. I believe that education is universal, but curriculum should not be. Why teach algebra and biology when they need to know how to raise chickens or catch fish just to survive? So, what is good education? I still do not have an answer, but I do know that education is important and if given the opportunity should be taken. Next, I learned the power of relationships. Traveling all across Cambodia visiting many people and NGO's. I saw the impact of forming friendships spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The gift of time and prayer meant so much more to the Khmer people than any amount of money or material goods. Which leads to what is good development? Money is not the answer; neither is handing out free food or clothes. As I am still wrestling with that question, I believe that part of good development is to find a way to empower the people to sustain themselves. This trip was a humbling opportunity to be exposed to more of God's creation and a blessing to engage in Khmer culture.

Beautiful, Wonderful Reality – Final Blog Post

As we flew out of Phnom Penh last night, I looked out over Cambodia's capital city and saw something completely unremarkable. You could have put me above any city across the world, and in the darkness I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. This struck me as odd because I would have thought that the end to a remarkable trip would have been more remarkable. However, when I thought about it more, namely about the things I've learned on this trip, it made perfect sense. Obviously, this trip was about development, but the things I experienced and took away from it were both bigger and smaller at the same time. Since this probably makes no sense, I'll break it up to explain my thoughts a little better. Continue reading "Beautiful, Wonderful Reality – Final Blog Post"