26 January 2011

[K'chea 2] : Jum reap lia, Kampuchea

jum reap lia (phrase) : good-bye
With limited internet access in Cambodia, with one post I said hello, and now with the second I say good-bye to a country filled with smiles, stares (at foreigners, or barang), sampeah (traditional Khmer greeting gesture of respect), and sand - lots of which came back with me to the States and has clogged the washing machine.

I'll have to go backwards and post some memorable moments from the trip, but I realized that 3 weeks is a long time to be both experiencing a new country and away from my own.  It's also long enough to grow attached, and I think many teammates share the same sense of budding love for Cambodia.

Some expectations fulfilled during this time :
  • finishing the latrine for the Phoem Kok primary school
  • meeting wonderful Khmer people, mostly in the form of our construction teammates Pu Chhea, Thy Thy, and Sokum
  • learning enough Khmer to have people smile and laugh rather than just stare at us
Some surprises :
  • detecting tones in Khmer that resemble Chinese, and seeing facial traits that reminded me of people at "home" as well
  • going dancing not just once, but twice in our humble village of Norkor Pheas - these people know how to have a good party!
  • getting really positive results from our RHA testing after some less than inspiring numbers at MIT
  • realizing that I didn't care about getting dirty as long as I got to ride in the back of a pickup truck or moto
Oh, and the sunsets we witnessed on the way back from the site each day were pretty stunning, this one included :


Would I go back?  Most certainly so!  I'm not sure if it could be in the capacity of a tourist, though - more likely as a volunteer, researcher, missionary, or some other capacity that could give back rather than consume.  We'll see what the future holds.  In the meantime, let the reminiscing begin.