Suasdey (hello!) from the village of Kbal Koh Kait on Koh Ksach Tunlea, an island situated between two channels of the Bassac River in Southern Cambodia, the home of our in-country instructor Thavry and the site of our first homestay. Our days here have been filled with waterfront lessons on Khmer language, Buddhism, Cambodian history, and anthropology, immersing ourselves in the vibrant island livelihoods, ceremonies, and daily rhythms, and exploring a different definition of family.
Over the next couple days, we will hear stories from villagers of all ages through Q & A panels and dive into learning about the mighty Mekong basin and rivers as the lifeblood of the Earth. Later this week, our group will leave this serene island we’ve been so welcomed in calling our temporary home and go briefly back to the bustling big city of Phnom Penh.
In Phnom Penh, we will build on our previous exploration of Indochina history and visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields. From there, we head north to Siem Reap where we will witness the remarkable temples of Angkor Wat, comprising the largest religious monument in the world, all the while reflecting on our prior island introductions to Buddhist ways of life and living. We will meet with a local organization working to improve education in Cambodia while delving deeper into our own independent study projects. Upon visiting the Great Lake, or the Tonle Sap, we will learn about it’s significance as the flowing heart of Cambodia and one of the richest inland fishing grounds in the world, and it’s vital downstream connection to the ever-developing Mekong River.
Departing Siem Reap, we head east to board a boat that will take us upriver on the Mekong River for a couple of days, exploring wildlife conservation and rural riverbank development in the Kratie Province. Our final days in Cambodia will be spent on our second trek, this time in the jungles of Mondulkiri, reflecting on our journey through this resilient country and that within ourselves.
Our group has formed an exceptional bond, with love and support flowing abundantly through our collective veins and each member stepping consciously into their respective leadership roles. As a team, we are beyond excited to continue our cultural exploration of this extraordinary part of the world. The river flows on…
Jom Rieb Lea!