LOTC Reflection

The whole experience was very good. It started with seeing some of the different historical parts of cambodia. We visited the palace. The palace had a large amount of interesting architecture, with arches and sculptures decorating every corner of the building. At the top of every roof was a four headed statue, with a face pointing in every cardinal direction. As we learned later from the guide, it was symbolic of the god Indra.

Knowing that Cambodia had a recent genocide, we were on a mission to educate and learn more about the genocide. Since the genocide involved many different aspects, our grade was split up into groups. Depending on the group, you would learn a specific section of the genocide, which later on would be presented and shared to the rest of the grade. My group was in charge of getting information on the International Response during the genocide. Doing this activity made it simpler to understand what was going on during the genocide, as well as see what we learnt in school in Cambodia. On the second day we visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, or known as the S21 prison during the genocide. It didn’t necessarily feel like an average prison. There was a garden, trees, benches etc. This is because it used to be a school before the revolution. However once I looked closer and saw the barbed wire, dirty and slowly ruined buildings, and torture tools.  Inside the multiple buildings, there were some rooms for high ranking prisoners. Within the room, there was a single bed with chains and locks. From the photo hanging on the wall, these chains and locks were used to keep the prisoner on the bed, and refrain from moving. Sometimes there were locks made just for your neck.

Later on in the same day we went to the Killing Fields. Over there, we each had a headset where we would individually walk around the fields and the recording would give us information.

The last 2 days we spent in a city called Kampong Cham doing community service. The community service that I did was filling tires with dirt so they can then plant lime trees to support the community economically. This was very difficult as we were moving several tonnes of dirt every day. On the night of the last day we met a bunch of schoolkids around 8-10 years old. We handed out sandwiches. Being with the kids and seeing how happy they were while having basically nothing, really gave me a new perspective in the way I look at things.