Where do you start to rebuild and community, let alone a country? Cambodia is successfully regaining its national strength and each time Intrepid’s Sherryn Bowers visits she is amazed by the country’s courage and determination…
“Prior to completing my first Intrepid trip through Cambodia, if anyone had asked me what I knew about the country I would have looked at them fairly blankly and vaguely said: “It has some old temples and a lot of people died there in an internal conflict some time ago.”
Since then I have been privileged to visit Cambodia on a regular basis. I now have a much greater appreciation of Khmer history, especially the more recent events under the Pol Pot regime, through visiting museums and reading books, but even more so through the openness of local people telling me their family’s stories. It never ceases to amaze me given the atrocities committed, how gentle, generous and resilient the people are following times of such adversity and destruction.
There is still a significant amount of poverty in the country, and yet people are never short of a smile or willingness to assist me in my travels. Over time, those who remain are rebuilding a stronger Cambodia, one where the primary hope is for all people to have a better quality of life.
I am awed by local people who themselves seemingly have so little, but who have been so moved by the plight of their family, friends and communities that they have set up schools, orphanages and other training institutions where others can gain skills and improve their situation. They don’t rely on external help, though numerous non-government organisations also currently work in Cambodia. Rather they are the people behind the scenes, making an unbelievable difference in the rejuvenation of their beloved country.
Not only are the temples being preserved for future generations, but Khmer culture, history and knowledge is slowly but surely being reborn. Thankfully a talented remaining few are imparting their knowledge of the old ways to the new and younger generation, ensuring their rich traditional heritage is upheld for all to enjoy in the future.”