04 March 2010


Definition:  small parts broken off or detached

Today was a full day, lived in fragments.  A trip to the airport to pick up missing luggage, visiting the Killing Fields, getting a glimpse of the Daughters' Cafe & catching the vision, eating at the Foreign Correspondents' Club, shopping at the Russian market.  All these parts , seemingly unrelated, made up our day.  I only have time to post about one, the Killing Fields, and I will let pictures be my words (or most of them).

One cannot come to Cambodia, nor have any understanding of the Cambodia of today without visiting the Killing Fields.  No Cambodian is unaffected by this.  Our driver was thirteen when he was separated from his mother and three brothers and sent to a work farm.  He was beaten and starved but managed to survive, as did his mother and two of his brothers.  Throughout the country there are many "Killing Fields", or mass graves, where people were brutally killed, usually by being hit in the back of the head with a hoe or a hammer; others survived the blow and were left to die among the already-dead; children were battered against trees in full view of their mothers.  Tragedy is not a large enough word to describe what happened.  Sin seems to be more adequate.

The Choeung Ek Genocide Centre is just outside Phnom Penh and had previously been a pottery before it became a killing field.  People were transported from Tuol Sleng prison in the city to this location and subsequently brutally murdered.  Today it is a site where you see the skulls of victims housed in a memorial pagoda, but the bones & clothing of those who died still come up in fragments from the shallow graves.

Eighty-six out of 129 mass graves were unearthed and 8985 bodies were found.

Bone fragments

The indulations in the ground are locations of mass graves.

A piece of clothing coming up through the ground.

It is late (again) and I am having trouble formulating my thoughts.  Today's sights gave me much to ponder.

Tomorrow, we are off to Siem Reap to see another Ratanak project.  Pray for safety, pray for health, pray for grace.

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