I absolutely love Cambodia but i know when i go home and think about Cambodia it will be the upsetting things and suffering that i have seen whilst here that ill remember the most.
I just cant get my head around how the people who live here can be so positive, inspirational and happy after they continue to live the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge, the landmines, the affects of the war in Vietnam and the extreme poverty. The people here are wonderfull and my eyes fill with water everytime i hear the stories of peples past and see how they remain optomistic today.
Arriving in Phonm Pehn we headed to the killing fields we had been told horror stories about it but wanted to see for ourselves. I can genuinely say i have never felt as horrified in my life as i did here. After watching a film about the suffering that took place in the fields by the Khmer rouge we walked around the masses of unearthed graves, where you can see bones sticking out of the ground from when the rain has continued to bring up human remains over the last 35 years. Walking up to the tower which houses thousands of skulls of people brutally murdered offten with tools by Khmer Rouge as they did not want to waste precious bullets. I had to have a moment to myself to sob, uncontrollably. We then walked round the fields and came across the killing tree which is where Babies were swung by there legs onto the tree smashing there tiny skulls and killing them andthey were then thrown into a mass grave at the side of the tree. There was another tree which was used to hang a speaker from to drowned out the sound of suffering and torture by playing music. We then got back in our tuk tuk and were told by our tuk tuk driver that when he was a child the Khmer rouge had come to the field he was living and working in with his family and they had offered his family an eductaion if they jumped in the van, at the time he was out in the field with his uncle, so didnt go and they never returned. He was later informed that they had all been murdered, he never saw hi9s family again, truly awful. A lot of people who live here, as this happened 35 years ago have been affected by this in such a massive way.
We then were taken to the prison where people were tortured by a series of devices and locked in tiny cells. Some of the images we saw will haunt me for the rest of my life. I will post some pics on my Facebook for people to log on and have a look but they really are disturbing and not for the faint hearted. I cant put anything else into words spent the whole time walking around in shock.
We spent 5 nights in Phonm Pehn, 30 hours of this was spent ill with Routh in the room and the rest wandering the city. Again we were touched and emotional at the people begging mostly children with very little. We often gave them left over food and bought things from them we didnt need, also men and women missing limbs from landmines from the war. Everywhere you look there are the effects of very tragic things that have happened in that past that are still very much visible today.
We then headed to Sihanoukville for some much needed and very guilty (after what we had seen) rest and recouperation by the beach. It really is a beautiful place. Ladies and young girls walk up and dpwn the beach selling, lobster, jewellery, fruit, massages and manicures. You cant help but get into a conversation with these wonderfull people and do end up buying everything under the sun as you find it hard to say no to someone so friendly taking so much of an interest in your life and trying to educate thereselves at the same time.
After some much needed beach action and plenty of good grub and cheap beer we headed on the 10 hour bus to Siem Reap. Me and routh arrived a day later than Rob after again having a bout of illness and were greeted by our brother from another mother and taken around the town. Since we have been here we have enjoyed some good grub, been to visit a lot of the amazing temples at Ankgor Wat (that do look like something out of a movie or fairytale) and partied with the loacsl in the street who were celebrating new year in which they throw talc over you and buckets of water - i think simbolises wealth and prosperity. Last night though after partying in the street mine and Rouths heart strings were pulled as some Children took us to a shop to buy them some food, when we got there they didnt want anything for their hungry tummys but wanted us to buy baby formula and milk for there families. I creid on the way home and couldnt sleep last night for thinking about it.
Its safe to say that i love it here but will never forget some of the upsetting things i have seen and the wonderfull people. We have one more day of Temples tomorrow getting up at 5 in the morning to watch the sunrise there and then we move on. I look forward to what else is instore and will keep you posted.
P.S. A perfect example of the people here and how lovely they are and how eductaion after what has happened is so imporant to them is..... the whole time i have been writing this there have been two teenagers at the window reading it and giving me the thumbs up. I hope i have done their counrty and people justice.