The “Rah” Experience

Today, Two years ago

*Note: Village of Rah is just a tiny part of Kompong Chnang province. It is located right at the border of 2 provinces, Kompong Speu and Kompong Chnang. It is about 2 and a half hours ride from the heart of Cambodia, capital city. But the life standards are like two different worlds. The gap of poverty between the rich and the poor is just too huge here.

Every step of life I’ve crossed and experience I’ve walked through, it inspires me to go much further in life and shape my perspective to a complete new level. After this one amazing field trip experience, it made me realized how blessed I am as a human being to be born in this amazing and warm middle class family in the city, although it’s in a developing country. Comparing my life to those who live in Rah Village where I see kids go to school shoesless and without book and I see kids get 500R as allowance every day. And then they would have to come back home to help their mom at home.

I got to oudong at around 3pm. We first made a stop at this old guesthouse to look for a room for Glitter and me. The room rate is $5/day. It’s of course no air condition. I don’t mind that anyway. It’s not like I’m that much of a first world person who can’t take heat. Plus I can’t stand cold anyway. We went to check the room. My first check should be the bathroom. I only care about that when it comes to hotel or guesthouse. It’s okay. Not that clean but I can take it. We put some of our stuff and my bike there at the guesthouse and then we continued our ride to Rah village. We continued on that main road and then we made a left turn at this market in kompong chnang to a dusty and small road toward the village. The ride in the car is with a bit of obstacles already and so I imagined about how I would in the next 7days traveling on bike with Glitter. I just wish the road wouldn’t be too slippery or bumpy. I don’t care for my safety. I’m more worried about Glitter. After like 20mins ride down that dusty and bumpy path we got to the village and our first stop was at the chief of village’s house, mainly just to introduce to him me and Glitter as new comers and our purpose of being there (our project). We are soon surrounded by many children. They all know Rogil and Janice as they are there once every month. They’re known to them as “jesus” organization. Well that’s the common thing Cambodian ppl think about an org. I’m always around Glitter translating everything she says to the chief of the village. I got the sense and vibe that he’s not that easy to deal with, in short not too nice or easy going person. I can sense some challenges down the path. And I’m so freaking scared of challenges. Glitter seems to have a lot of plans down the road and it doesn’t look good for me. From the sound I could tell it would be a long and tiring day every day. My mom is right. I’ve been so spoiled and so indulged in an easy life that has no challenges all along. I can hardly take hardship in life. We then go around the village with this huge crowd of kids walking along side us. Some of the boys are holding rogil’s hands. And some of the girls are holding my hands. I don’t know how they can find courage to do something like that at that young age. Get so close and not at all scared of a strange new foreigner to their land like me. I’m impressed. When I was at that age, I couldn’t even dare to get near any strange faces, let alone starting up conversation and be all so chatty to a complete stranger like that. They are super cute. We go on from house to house asking people if they would mind having interviews with us. I was in shocked to see how welcome and friendly and helpful the people in the village are. They are totally different from those in the city. The poorer you are in money and wealth, the richer you are in heart and humanity. After going around the village, we visited the secondary school. There we found two teachers who live there as residents at the school. I mean literally living inside classrooms with just tables and chairs not bedroom or kitchen or anything. Well they do have cookers and some household utilities inside each room. I honestly don’t know who you can basically live in a classroom until now and what is worse they all have children and well. But I think this case isn’t the worst I’m about to witness since. This is what happens when you step down from your freaking princess pedestal, take down your selfish glasses and open your eyes to the real world, the cruel and inhuman world sometimes. They were super nice to us when we asked if we could come the next day to do questionnaire with them or to even interview them.

After that we left and returned back to our old damp guesthouse, but we make a stop at this clinic (a health center). The man who is in charge there looked a bit scary and suspicious of our intention at first. But after I explained everything to him, he turned out to be a super helpful and friendly guy. I believe that not all human beings are mean or selfish; we just need the right tool to open their kind hearts. Glitter is impressed and surprised to find that all the people we meet and deal with are mostly nice and helpful with kind hearts. It is true that most Cambodians possess that quality and charm. This is what takes us anywhere in the world, our humbleness, our friendliness. These qualities bring balance to this mad and arrogant self-absorbed world. And this is the best quality I see in underdeveloped world like ours. I’m pretty sure you can hardly find this friendly and kind face in some part of the fancy and first world like the states or Singapore. I actually feel sad for them to be honest, for the loss of their humanity. I have friends of any kind of nations from all around the globe actually. I’m blessed enough to know mostly the nice people. I have many American friends telling me that their nation is a lost and sinking ship nation. I somehow believe that it’s also all connected to how we communicate or even start a conversation with them first. If we are nice to them, of course they would nice back to us. Treat others how we want to be treated.

We wrapped up our long and tiring day with the visit to the hospital, but yay we got an appointment with him on the next week time slot.

I was so exhausted by the time I got to the guesthouse. I really just wanted to sleep. I didn’t have proper or enough hours of sleep from last night. But then the team asked me if I would want to join them for snack before some of them going back off to Phnom Penh. I don’t think it would be nice to turn such offer down. There I joined them for some soup. Glitter couldn’t eat much there. She is a vegetarian. Talk about how much this woman sacrifices for the sake of the world including sparing the lives of cows and pigs that are killed each day just to be food for us human. I don’t think I could ever be that selfless enough to take away protid from my demanding body.

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