Phnom Penh

We have only been in Cambodia for two days and already it has been a wild and confronting ride in a country with such a brutal recent past. Yesterday we went looking for products for First off we visited the factory founded by an Italian man to make beautiful jewellery from bombs and land mines. He came to Phnom Penh fourteen years ago adopting a Cambodian orphan and since then has started schools and a jewellery making school for homeless Cambodian kids where they can live and learn skills that keep them out of terrible poverty and prostitution. Then on to an organization employing hundreds of women in poor villages making hand woven silk. It was founded by a land mine victim who lost her leg at twelve and her friend died when they were collecting firewood for their family. The profits all go to village development projects. Then on to another group who make bags from recycled rice bags to help support the many disabled people left behind by so much trauma and war. Cambodia is the most bombed nation on earth with many many people still losing their lives and limbs to landmines every year...
This afternoon we are going to the Genocide Museum and the killing fields of Phnom Penh. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge murdered over 2 million people.. a quarter of Cambodia's population in the 1970's. Before that the Americans bombed the place extensively even though Cambodia was never officially part of the Vietnam War. There is so much evidence of war, poverty and trauma here so we are hiding around the swimming pool of our cute little hotel for a couple of hours escape ....although even here the reality of exploitation is obvious. Two European men appear each morning at breakfast with another new pair of very young women who are clearly prostitutes they have bought for the night... apparently girls of five are commonly trafficked in to prostitution. So Samsara is now a sponsor of an organization trying to work against the human trafficking in to the sex trade that is so rife here. Oh dear....Its been both extremely depressing and confronting to see these realities and yet inspiring to meet so many good people doing their best to overcome all these evils and the resilience of the Cambodian people is extraordinary. No doubt tommorrow will bring more confronting experiences...

1 comment

  • So moving… thank you for sharing a snippet of daily life in Cambodia


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published