Despite a day filled with marches and demonstrations, Phnom Penh remained relatively calm. The only government reaction: quietly relocating a dozen protesters who had camped outside the U.S. embassy. Fast forward a few weeks, and the demonstrations have taken a dramatic and deadly turn.
Having returned to Cambodia more than once in the post-Cold War era, my wife and I were surprisingly impressed by the extent to which this once battle-torn country was now coming to life, placing the memories of its past well behind it.
At a time of global crisis, when so many children are poor, so many parents hopeless, so many nations teetering on the brink of genocide, perhaps these reflections about my visit to Cambodia will bring a glimmer of hope from the Killing Fields.
Some 95 percent of Cambodia's people are Buddhist. "Nation, Religion, King" is Cambodia's national motto and it is one of the few world nations where Buddhism is the state religion. The religious world here, however, is not just about Buddhism.
Opened in 2010, Bloom Training Centre and Café is the brain-child of Ruth Larwill, a mother of two from Brisbane, Australia, who found she could use her passion for cake decorating to provide economic opportunity for vulnerable women in Cambodia.
I couldn't find a balance between working hard and enjoying a social life and decided it was time for a change. My time in Guatemala and Cambodia gave me a learning experience that I never could've imagined getting at college.