Final Blogpost

South Korea, Thailand, Cambodia—Southeast Asian gems—all incredible and beautiful but in very different ways. Going from South Korea to Thailand and then to Cambodia was like climbing down a latter into a seemingly dark and ugly pit of despair. This pit is the perception of Cambodia to the untrained eye. Cambodia: a country recovering from a genocide that legally lasted for 4 years, but in reality, lasted for more than 10. In these 10 years, Americans killed Cambodians, Cambodians killed Cambodians, and then Cambodians forced men into extreme and torturous working conditions. This, happening a mere 40 years ago, still impacts the country today. The overall course of development has caused an huge influx of NGO’s ultimately creating an air of dependence. Yet, Cambodia still hold beauty that is recognized worldwide: Angkor Wat, numerous memorials, incredible bike tours, and more. Behind the façade, however, remains extreme poverty. We visited numerous schools. In some, teachers deliberately withhold valuable information from students reserving it for those who can afford private tutors. We saw organizations dedicated to dealing with the water crisis in Cambodia that has resulted from global warming and is actively changing the way Cambodians can farm. We saw churches. Some of which are supported from the side and from behind from western organizations and others are run by foreigners. We compared the impact of both styles, and directly saw the results. We investigated the way numerous communities are affected by NGO’s. We saw the styles that are successful, and ones that are less so. We smiled at Cambodians, and almost all returned the smile genuinely and filled with joy. We saw, we talked, we questioned, we laughed, we cried, and we were changed. Almost all of us have experienced an life changing time. We now wear new lenses of our worldview. I pray that we live in light of what we have seen. I pray that we engrave the lessons in our hearts and mind.

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