Well, some left early last week to vacation ahead of the trip but the bulk of our group left early yesterday morning. This is a shot of those leaving Nashville. I just received word that they landed safely in Phnom Penh. It’s 10:30 Monday night there so they’ll soon be crashing at the hotel and be up early tomorrow for a fabulous breakfast at Java and then on to tour the Royal Palace, S21 prison and killing fields. Be thinking of them tomorrow because it’s an emotional day touring these places. They will see the horrors of the Khmer Rouge genocide and come away with a better understanding of how much the Cambodian’s have lost and what they are striving to rebuild.
Quick overview on the Khmer Rouge genocide: At the end of the Vietnam War America was carpet bombing along the boarder and hit several Cambodian villages. So, the Cambodian people at the time were not to happy with Americans. The Vietnamese and Red Khmer’s played on those emotions and said put us in power and we’ll make sure this never happens again. Instead they began pushing everyone out of the cities, identifying anyone with an education or city job and put them in detention centers. The Khmer Rouge was torturing and killing anyone who was not an “ignorant farmer” in order to create a peasant class of slave labor to produce rice for China in exchange for guns. This was the Cambodian holocost and close to 3 million Cambodians died. When you go to Cambodia today, they are missing a generation. You won’t see many people in the 30-40 age range. Our team will see a detention center with pictures of how they were tortured and killed and then they will tour a mass grave where the bones are still rising to the surface. It will be a heavy day for them.
I will try to blog daily with updates on the team. There may be some days when they don’t have access to a computer to send an update but I’ll at least blog to let you know what they are doing that day. And, hopefully they will send pictures so you can see where they are. Thanks for supporting the team and Freedom’s Promise.