Photo Flashback Friday
I am in love with Eastern Cambodia.
With the small towns, the kind people, the Mekong River, and the amazing sunsets that set over it.
And so much more.
It is a place of few foreigners, many children, and intense curiosity about anyone who arrives, especially a solo anyone with pale skin, eyes, and hair.
Small children will run after you, the foreigner, shouting their one word in English –
– and many other words in a language that you cannot understand, while smiling broadly, and likely not wearing any clothes. The kindness and joy are forever pressed into my memory, and I can feel it the same as I can see the smiles and hear the laughter.
It is a place of poverty. Where many children do not have shoes, though thankfully the ground is soft. Where many children do not have much clothing, though thankfully the sun is bright and the air is warm.
It is a place of poverty, but,
it is so much more.
It is a place of honesty and helpfulness. It is a place where you can forget your passport (your American, worth thousands of dollars on the black market, passport) in a Kampong Cham guesthouse with no phone, and not realize it until you get hours away.. and a few phone calls from a helpful manager sets a whole village into searching for and finding it.
It is a place of selflessness and giving. When you arrive back to the tiny town, to retrieve what you had lost, the young woman who spent a few hours asking around unnamed guesthouses (though she has never met you and doesn’t know you) for your passport will give it to you. And expect nothing. And refuse any money offered, until you ask again and smile and insist that it is a gift. And shyly, slowly, smiling, she will take it.