So, soon I will be wandering back to Cambodia. We’ll start with a couple of days (and nights!) in Bangkok, then move on to the wonderful oasis of the Rambutan Hotel in Siem Reap. I’m especially looking forward to this journey, as it will not be the usual, choreographed show of the opening day of school. Rather, I’ll get to see the school as it is on all the other days. There’s something about seeing a school on a regular day that instantly transports me to my days and years spent teaching in Cincinnati. You get a feel for the community and energy of the school environment that really isn’t present on a special day, full of visitors and with the kids on their very best behavior.
This journey, for me, is going to be another of getting a further feel and understanding for the hardships and poverty these children and their parents are born into. There is no safety net should things go wrong. No food stamps, no government assistance, no disaster relief. Just people working everyday to get along as best they can. But, you know? The thing I notice on each of my visits there is the dignity and love with which so many live. They are grateful for the little that they have and are generous and giving. Sure, they wish they had more, but that doesn’t stop them from appreciating their lives and families.
How is it that people who have so little can live in such generosity, joy, respect and compassion. So many in our country could learn a lesson from these people. In this region of our world with a recent history of sadness, genocide, and wars that still kill innocents with leftover, unexploded munitions, there is a welcoming spirit that smiles at strangers no matter what their race or country of origin. Again, a lesson to be learned.
I’ll be wandering the streets, temples, markets and neighborhoods trying to document this spirit so that everyone who sees the images might have a little understanding and feeling for what I find so endearing about the Cambodian people.
Oh…. and you don’t speak Khmer and are wondering about the title?
“May I Please Take Your Picture?”
You can guess what the answer is almost all the time!
Get out of the house…