Thanksgiving was spent exploring Cambodia with cameras in hand. Seven days later, I was back in the states having surgery on my shoulder. It refused to stay in its dedicated space…all planned but still a whirlwind of a week, a combination of highs and lows, amazing access to sites and then total immobility. Reflections on this dichotomy of experiences led me into my first post on Cambodia.
National Geographic described Cambodia as, “A society emerging from decades of war and genocide, and it has almost completed its painful search for stability and democracy.” It went on to state, “Although many Cambodians remain traumatized by the shadows from their individual and collective pasts, now is their chance to look to the future.” From my all too brief visit, I found the children to radiate a palpable hopefulness, a living, breathing exuberance to foster a new optimism for the future.
Laughter is the quickest way to bring people together…no language classes needed. In the first picture, I was with a group of photographers in a rural village. The sweetest little one came up to us wanting us to buy the bananas. I was so intent on photographing her, I never looked down to see all that a nearby water buffalo left behind on the ground. I ended up right in a huge mound. The next thing I knew, these two were laughing so hard. We immediately became friends!
While photographing at a Buddhist monastery,these young girls came right up. I couldn’t resist their wonderful smiles and peace signing. I stayed with them for a time while they were just enjoying each other and the day…for a brief moment, the fun connected us all.
Islam is a minority religion in Cambodia.There is only one mosque in Siem Reap, Neak Mah Mosque. We arrived before salat (prayer) to find a young boy and girl who took full advantage of the open space as they played without a care in the world. It was wonderful to catch them jumping over such colorful prayer rugs and hearing nothing but giggles and laughter…spirits in flight.
Finally, I just loved that unplanned moment of friendship between the two Buddhist monks and the young girl who immediately flashed a smile and peace sign! All of these are moments that bring healing to the deep wounds of the past, connect, renew, opening doors to a hopeful future. I was so enlivend by them all.
Cambodian School Children
Cambodian Children, Muslim Cambodian Children
Cambodian Buddhist Monks