Good Evening to All,
A very different approach today, and one that has been very well received by our students.
After yesterdays ‘introductory’ style we moved on with a more educational slant to the program. I won’t ruin it by telling you what we’ve been up to, instead I’ll let the words of ‘Boss man’ and ‘Mama Bear’ do the day justice:
A beary good evening to all of you! We wish you cub be with us but since you are not, here’s another update on what we did today.
The third day in Cambodia began with great prospects of finally getting our hands dirty and beginning to get involved in some volunteer work at free the BEARS. This morning we came bears in a fun activity called BEAR survival. With 126 tennis balls representing our food, we had to forage for three food sources or more. The bears that failed to do so would end up dead and eventually take on different roles like that of a snare or a hunter. The activity entailed a BEARY brutal scramble, which yielded in a majority of dead bears by the end of the second round. With each passing round the area for the food to be distributed was cut down to simulate the global problem of loss of habitat,` due to human impacts. This mirrored the current situation prevalent in many parts of the world today.
After this exuberant experience, we moved on to a different activity that involved understanding different animals, their adaptations and their natural instincts. In groups, we were given an animal to study. We’re now absolute experts at animals and know everything about their distinguishing features!
As the morning ended in high spirits we began our journey towards a more sombre issue that we had been looking forward to explore since the first day.
Now a lot of you must have heard about Mussolini , Stalin and Hitler, but how many of you have heard of the Khmer Rouge?. To give you a brief summary, they were a political group in Cambodia, headed by Pol Pot, who came to power in the late 1970’s and have been notorious for their harsh regime. We visited the Choeung Ek Genocide Camp (Killing Fields). As the name suggests, it was the site that bore witness to mass genocide and torture. It was an emotionally moving experience that taught us a lot about small things making big differences. The moment we entered we were met with a seventeen tier tower that preserves the uncountable skulls, bones, weapons that were used to advocate genocide. Throughout the Killing Fields, we also saw several depressions that once contained corpses, blood stains on trees that were used to kill the innocent and numerous bones that were littered all over the place. The excruciating evidence of innocent women, children, men and foreigners alike having been slaughtered moved us deeply. It is hard to believe that people can be forced to hurt their own kin and carry out such atrocities on so large a scale. There’s only so much we can learn from textbooks, and the hard cold facts they contain are no match for the experience we gained after going there. It was truly uplifting.
With the solemn evening coming to a close, we’re pretty sure that we all have a lot to reflect upon. We hope that along with knowing about our activities, you learnt a fair bit about the history of Cambodia and our emotional journey too. With so much to think about, we leave you here to formulate your own opinions and we hope to see you soon!
Thanks for sticking by!
S Square (Sanjana Subramanian and Suraj Bharadwaj)
So as you can see it’s been quite a day, time to round it off at one of our favourite restaurants in Phnom Penh,
All the very best,
Team Little Planet