participate in "The Cambodian Experience," a three-week International
Education Fellowship scheduled to leave in late May 2015.
as part of church mission trips. Although those trips were extremely
rewarding, my trip to Cambodia provided an opportunity to learn
about people and culture in a much more expansive way.
group of six women and three men of various ages, cultures and
educational interests. Our leaders, Art Professors Margaret Rack and
Yary Livan, each have had extensive experience traveling in Cambodia.
on a Fulbright Fellowship. Livan, a Lowell artist renowned for his work
in Cambodian ceramics, was born and raised in Cambodia. He lived
through the Khmer Rouge period (1975-79) before immigrating to the
United States as a refugee.
we were exposed to Cambodian history, art, culture, religion and
environmental concerns. We also learned to speak some basic Khmer.
(three-wheeled motos) transporting people and goods. There were
humid and rainy. Although we arrived during the monsoon season, we
only had two brief showers during our 20-day stay. This may seem good
for touring, but the rice fields, which should have been lush and green,
were dusty and unplanted. Without the flooding rains, rice, the main
staple of the Cambodian diet, will be in short supply.
Cambodia. We visited many, including a village pottery co-op in
Kampong Chhnang. We toured Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem
Reap, which provides free care and health education. We also spent
a morning in cultural exchange with the children of Anjali House,
which provides educational support to street children in Siem Reap.
Tuol Sleng Prison, where 20,000 Cambodians were tortured and
then taken to the Killing Field of Choeung Ek. It was difficult to
learn the horrors of this prison, and even more difficult to realize
there are hundreds of these sites around the country where
1.7 million Cambodians were killed.
of the places we visited. Most of the traditional artists were