Suasdey (Hello!) from Trapeang Sangkae, a special community near the southern coast of Cambodia, where not far from the bungalows we have been sleeping in, the river meets the ocean. At this meeting point, we ceremonially started the Transference Phase of our course by physically transferring baby mangroves into their new homes as a part of the community’s efforts to expand and protect the important mangrove ecosystem. We’ve learned directly from the Community Leader about the extreme challenges and persistent triumphs the community has experienced protecting their land from clear-cutting developers, as the mangroves are a crucial part of sustaining life here: they create fish habitat and thus livelihoods for fisher(wo)men and their families, protect the land and community from storms, sea level rise, and erosion, sequester carbon dioxide from our shared atmosphere, and provide clean, fresh, oxygen-filled air for all who come here.
Over the past couple days, we have also been reflecting on our time in this country: recapping our itinerary, the people we met, what we learned about, what made us think, and all the high, low, and funny moments in between. We’ve also spent some time discussing our time ahead: how to share our experiences with those back home through our actions, words, and newly gained perspectives. To get a taste of these conversations and to provide a list for ourselves at a later time, we wish to share the following values and actions that were spoken during today’s activities:
Values we want to take home from Cambodia:
Actions we want to live through moving forward:
Though with heavy hearts we prepare to depart from Cambodia, likely with more questions than answers, the opportunities ahead are vast. We pack our bags again – this time with more space in our hearts, more openness to our minds, and more depth in understanding our own actions.
With palms folded at hearts center,
Cambodia Summer 2019 Family