- Incentive Travel
I knew this was going to be a tough morning as we were going to visit one of the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng prison, which is now a museum. We walked through the killing fields with our tour guide explaining each horrendous spot. Since his family lived in a Killing Field for several years, many times he choked back tears while talking. Part of me thought that Nyah was too young to see some of these images, but I felt that she needs to know and understand what her birth country was coming off of when she was born. Maybe to also better understand one day why her birth mother may have given her up to receive a better life. She was quiet most of the morning, and I did not encourage her to give me her thoughts as I felt she needed this time to absorb everything. She did have many questions after we returned and I realized what a deep thinker Nyah actually is.
From the Killing Fields we went to Tuol Sleng Museum. Which was a former high school that was turned into a prison where enemies of the Khmer Rouge were tortured. They were either killed here or sent to the Killing Fields after torture and interrogation. Some members of our group had to leave as the images were so powerful and heartbreaking. At the end of the tour, there were actually 2 of the only 7 living survivors that had stayed at this Prison, known as Prison 21. They told their stories and it was translated for us. Such kind men and hard to believe they endured such torture. You would never know by their loving smiles to us. When it was time to leave, we all gathered at the spot where we were asked to wait. For about 10 minutes, while we waited to leave, not one person in the group said anything. There was an almost uncomfortable silence as we waited for our tour guide. Everyone knew what each other was thinking so we did not need to talk at this moment in time.
It was a more uplifting afternoon as we cruised over to a village of Prek Bang Kang, where silk weaving is a well preserved tradition. We spent time exploring the many houses in the village to see the weaving and learn more about how silk is produced. I found this to be absolutely fascinating. They actually have a small area where they start with the moth/silkworm and they showed us how the cocoon produces the silk, then they spin it to make it soft and from there dye it. The silk is then created into scarves, linens, etc., from these wooden devices called looms. It was like out of the early 1900s and very interesting. I felt like we were in a “village back in time” with dirt roads and houses on stilts. The silk weavers sell their goods to tourists and also “buyers” that transfer the silk to the city to sell. The ladies and children were so engaging, it was very hard not to buy product from them. I came back with a lot of scarves, and I don’t even wear scarves. At one point, Nyah said….”how do you know that they are not going to use the money for drugs?”. I don't know why, but her saying that made me laugh. I reassured her that this was their livelihood and our money was going to good use. I did notice that there were not many men in this village as we learned they will live in the city during the week to try and work to bring home money to their family.
Back on the ship again to cruise over to the province of Kampong Chang, where Nyah may originally be from. There are many villages in Kampong Chan and we will visit two of them tomorrow. Although unlikely, I will still wonder if I may see the eyes of Nyah while I’m there. If I do, I would want to say thank you for my blessing, my Nyah!