Archive for January, 2010

S-21 and the Killing Fields

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

After visiting S-21 and the Killing Fields, I felt a bit sick for the rest of the day. A monument with 9,000 skulls. Tatters of clothing sticking out of the dirt. The tree where infants would be hurled against to kill them.

When I visited Auschwitz earlier this year, it had a different kind of feeling. Overwhelming. But I think S-21 hit me in a different way as some of the photos of the people displayed in the Genocide Museum reminded me of family members.

Today, when we were visiting the RDIC, it was pointed out that culturally, forgiveness is not something that comes easily in Cambodia.

How could you forgive something like this?

The road to Phnom Penh

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

The route from Kampong Chanang to Phnom Penh was beautiful. We blazed along the main road early in the morning as the sun rose – it felt really good to be pushing my physical limit. At Oudong we detoured and took a scenic ride for the last 50 km through back roads that ran through rice fields. As the heat increased, in addition to pushing the physical endurance there was also the mental, just trying to stay focused in the heat.

The stops for sugar cane juice are absolutely wonderful. And the cascades of “helloooo” from the children that run out to the side of the road as we cycle always evokes a smile.

As we road into Phnom Penh, we stayed in a straight line and weaved through the busy traffic between trucks, tuk-tuks and motos. It was like being in a video game, except you get one life as you make a split second decision as to whether or not you can squeeze in the small space that’s quickly closing up as a truck is backing up. It was exhilerating.

We’ve had the opportunity to rest for a couple days and tomorrow we do 135 km.

Happy New Year!

Friday, January 1st, 2010

We spent new year’s eve riding from Battambong to Pursat, which is approximately 110 km. Children would yell hellloooooooo from the side of the road and others would repeat it hellohellohellohello! Wewere awake at 4 am and we pulled in at about 2-3 pm. I felt completely and utterly exhausted and grabbed a quick nap before heading to dinner with the group and Sustainable Cambodia. We rang in the new year at midnight which is ahead of GMT by 8 hours and a full 12 hours ahead from back home in Kitchener-Waterloo. Today we have a rest day and then there are two back-to-back 90 km days as we make our way towards Phnom Penh.

Resolutions – I’m still working those out. Generally speaking, the resolution for 2009 still holds, be a better person, but I will be putting some other goals up here as they are refined.

As far as end of year reflections, a more detailed post will follow in time,
but for now, I think I can honestly say that 2009 has been the best year
yet, filled with adventure and fun. For those who helped make it
amazing and for those who shared in those special moments, thank you.
For those who I may have hurt or offended, please accept my apologies. For everyone, I wish peace, health, and happiness in 2010.