So over the past months the organisation 2Way Development has been working hard to find us a suitable voluntary placement and to prepare us for our stay. It looks like 2Way has found us the perfect jobs starting in October. We will be going to: CAMBODIA! We are so excited and on 19th October we will be moving to Phnom Penh for 6 months. Both Chris and I will be working for local NGOs. I will be working for Youth Star Cambodia, but will write more about the jobs and what we will be doing a bit later. But for now we would like to thank 2 Way for their hard work and great service.
A lot of people asked me where Cambodia is, so here is a little summary for those who want to find out a bit more: Cambodia is in Southeast Asia. It borders Thailand to the west and northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.
The official language is Khmer. I have heard that it is not as difficult to learn as other Asian languages as it has no tenses or tones, but we will see. I will try and learn some basics, so I can at least haggle on the market, one of my specialities. 😉
Most people only know Cambodia because of the horrific genocide by the Khmer Rouge in the 70ies. When the Khmer Rouge came into power in 1975 the regime was led by Pol Pot. They attempted to rebuild the country’s agriculture on the model of the 11th century (a communist agricultural principle), discarded Western medicine, and destroyed temples, libraries, and anything considered Western. They also killed most of the Middle Class to cleanse the country from any Western and capitalistic influence. At least a million Cambodians, out of a total population of 8 million, died from executions, overwork, starvation and disease. Estimates as to how many people were killed by the Khmer Rouge regime range from approximately one to three million. This era gave rise to the term Killing Fields, and the prison Tuol Sleng became notorious for its history of mass killing. Hundreds of thousands fled across the border into neighbouring Thailand. Even today judicial cases are still going on.
Cambodia is now safe, but it is still a very poor country. A lot of their income is now from tourism. I am sure there is plenty to add and so there will be more to follow once we are there.