Earlier this month I helped lead a Discovery Trip to Cambodia, with Samaritan’s Purse. The trip was with an Australian multi-campus school. All the students are either just completing, or are in the last couple of years of, their schooling. I hoped to find out how Cambodian mothers raised their children in this beautiful, but politically devastated, country. I discovered some amazing strength and resilience.
But first let me fill you on Cambodia . . .
The first day of our trip, in Phnom Penh, was a day of familiarising students with the Cambodian culture, and a snapshot of the historical context. It was grueling to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, once a thriving high school built by the French. And the same morning, a visit to Choeung Ek, also known as The Killing Fields. Here are housed hundreds of human remains in a tall Bhuddist stupa, pictured below.
Becoming aware of the awful history of the nation was very sobering for the students. Between 1975 and 1979, the whole country was decimated. Socially, financially, agriculturally, educationally, culturally – you name it. The notorious Pol Pot regime had a lot to answer for once it was all over. It’s a little too devastating to describe on these pages. But if you would like to find out more, you could visit The History Place.
Up until that time Cambodia was a thriving French colony, with all the trappings of a modern country. But 30 years on, it is still in the process of recovering. The generational impact of this failed move to communism continues. For starters, the median age in 2015 was just 24 years. And the vast majority of the population, younger than 30 years old. There is not much motherly wisdom to go around!
More about my Trip to Cambodia, and the implications for the mothers there in my next post >>>