The Watermelon Patch

If you followed our blog in January, you might remember that at the ESA farm we installed a drip irrigation system and planted watermelon seeds.  While in some ways that seems like just the other day, it has been more than 5 weeks since the seeds were planted.

Ly and Navy sent us these pictures of the watermelon!  I think that if we go there in a few weeks we can have fresh watermelon!

Leonard

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Sound

As the heater clicks off in my apartment, I am suddenly aware that, for the first time in a while, everything is silent. I take a moment to appreciate the peace of the moment, but not without a twinge of nostalgia. Living in constant community with 28 other people for a few weeks has it’s drawbacks, but in the silence of my home it is hard to feel a little lonely. I throw on some elephant pants, and that helps a little. Roosters, truck engines, traffic and hawkers. Things that were at first harsh to my ears now only bring back fond memories. Well, maybe not snorers. Or monk music…

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to have had the opportunity to participate in this interim trip. I am decidedly not the same person that left a month ago.

Water

As the plastic bottles pile up on my bedside table, my conscience twinges. It’s not the waste that gets me the most: everything will be recycled. What is more troubling to me is that a dollar can buy me three litres of bottled water in Cambodia, but most Cambodians cannot afford or do not have access to clean drinking water. The extent of my opulence becomes apparent through the simplest of necessities. Continue reading

Creation Care in the Third World

When we were in Takeo village, we visited a farmers home to see the work he was doing there. The farmer very well known for his efficiency in all his work. He and his family use have a wide range of projects they work on such as growing vegetables and fruits, fish farming, and raising animals. Each activity they do produces some kind of “waste”, but he utilizes the wastes in other projects where they can be useful. Continue reading

Memories Of The Not So Distant Past

On Jan. 17th our group visited the Choeung Ek killing fields. The first thing I saw upon entering the park was a giant tower filled with the skulls of the victims of the Khmer Rouge. In the park’s museum I watched a film explaining how the fields were run and I saw a display case filled with the brutal weapons used to kill. I continued to walk around the fields and saw more bones from all the victims Even after seeing all these grisly sights, the hardest part  for me was seeing a pile of the discarded clothes of the victims.  Continue reading

Including Political Development

Although we did not visit any organizations that dealt directly with the political situation in Cambodia, we did spend two different sessions listening to and asking questions of Theary Seng, a lawyer and political activist in Cambodia. Before meeting her, I do not think any of us students understood the extent to which Theary is a force in Cambodia, and the influence she has there. Her story and history due to the Khmer Rouge is a tragic and fascinating story, giving her the fire to be who she is today. I found her presence to extremely intense and passionate, every word from her mouth, which are many, is said with knowledge, conviction and force. It made me want to rally behind her and follow her out to the protests. Continue reading

The Fall of an Empire

In the height of the Khmer Empire, it was the most powerful nation in the world. Angkor Wat was the capitol, with about one million inhabitants, the most populated city at that time. Now, about 900 years later all that remains are the huge and intricate temples that reveal the magnitude of the resources the empire had: thousands of workers (many POWs), a great food supply, and time safe from enemy attacks. Continue reading

Lessons From the Poor

Throughout the trip while visiting different NGOs and discussing how to sustainable develop, I realized I had been making an error. I tried to simplify the situation and my mindset formed to: the Cambodians need our help, we (Westerners) can help them, and we need to find the best way to help them. While I don’t think this statement is false, it lacks the important idea that learning goes both ways. Continue reading

Seeing how the Spirit is alive in Cambodia