Saturday, May 11, 2013

The hard parts of Cambodia

Imagine your normal day. The kids get up in the morning, you get them breakfast, pack their lunch for school, you and your husband get ready for work and the day begins. It's a normal day for you and it's also a normal day for the people of Cambodia. Sometimes it's hard to imagine or understand that people in other countries live a very similar life that we in Canada do. But they do. They have families that they love like we do. They have kids that need to get up, dressed and fed before they go to school. They also have homes that they have worked for and jobs to go to every day. Same same, but different. 

Now imagine if one day as the kids are ready to go off to school, someone comes to your house and tells you that you need to pack a bag and some food and you need to leave your home for a few days. What? That doesn't make sense does it? It didn't make sense to the Cambodian people in 1975 either. As we listen to the stories of the Cambodian people, we come to realize how sometimes the world doesn't make sense and sometimes it is not fair. It's hard to imagine what the Cambodian people went through 38 years ago. But every single person we have met was affected by the war. EVERY SINGLE PERSON HAS BEEN DIRECTLY AFFECTED! 

Some people don't remember because they were to young. But they feel like they remember because they have learnt from their parents, if they are still alive. Most people don't have grandparents, most may only have one parent. Because their family was either killed for being educated or starved to death. 40% of the Cambodian population were killed. 40%!
The Cambodian people couldn't return to their homes. They were pushed around the countryside for many years. Slaves to a government that decided where they lived, when they worked, what they wore and how much food they got (1 cup of watery rice a day) and if they would live or die. 

It's hard to hear isn't it? It's also hard to look into the eyes of people who are sharing their story of going back to remove the bones of their father 30 years after their death from starvation, because the burial ground has turned into a construction area and needs  to be cleared of all bones. It was a shallow grave, because the malnourished wife had to dig the grave herself while on the move to yet another home. A home that the pol pot regime made them go to. They had no choice. If they argued they died. It was as easy as that. You did what they told you to. Or you died. 

It makes me so mad! I feel horrible that we as North Americans took so long to help. I remember hearing about Cambodian "boat people" coming across the ocean when I was a kid. We all thought, why are these people risking their lives and the life of their kids to sail across the ocean in a boat. I know now. It makes me sad. 

How many people come to Canada seeking safety from what is happening in their country right now? Maybe we think they should go back to where they come from. Maybe we don't understand. Maybe we need to try harder. How can we learn more? I'm sure that its as easy as getting to know some of these newcomers and asking them. I don't want to find out in 30 years that we as adults had an opportunity to make a difference and didn't even try because we thought it couldn't possibly be that bad. Maybe it is. 

Suggested movie or reading- the killing fields or first they killed me father
Google- Cambodia pot pot regime or Khmer Rouge 

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Okay ... I crazy love your blog and all of your posts. You have such a gift of sharing real life with your kids.

Friend, would you consider sharing some of your posts with a group of moms. To encourage all of us to go for it with our kids and live the adventure.

Monday I will have a linky thingie.

If I did it right, you can find it here ...

Be blessed bunches,