The 22 of us have all come together to build a home here in Cambodia. We come armed with different skills, strengths and expectations but a common desire to do good - to make a difference. That's what makes it easy to quickly make new friends and meld together as a team -- even in the heat!
We started our joint adventure with a morning visiting two different historical/cultural sites just outside of Siem Reap: The Killing Fields and The War Museum. This being Cambodia, history is quite dark. A brutal civil war, with the USSR and China backing different factions, led to the death of more than 8 million Cambodians in the '70's and caused them to have the dubious honors of being the most bombed country in the world (in terms of millions of tons of bombs dropped) and the most mined (that is military explosives) with more than 2 1/2 mines per citizen - 17 million buried all across the country. Even 20 years after the cessation of military action, more than a dozen mines explode every month causing deaths and injuries. Sorry for starting out so dark, but it drives home an appreciation of how lucky we are to be born in the U.S. and how much Cambodia needs help. So as we head on the bus from Siam Reap to Battambang to begin our home build, we contrast what we have learned with the pastoral scenes of rice paddies, pastures and contended cows that pass by our window and we offer thanks and commit ourselves to making a difference while we are here.
Written by Jean Sculati and John Twomey