By Kimberly Johnson
On Saturday afternoon we arrived in Siem Reap for some rest and recovery. Siem Reap is known for holding the country’s treasure that is represented on the Cambodian flag. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. Angkor Wat is right outside of the city, Siem Reap, and holds many temples that were built during the 12th century. What makes these temples so special? They survived the destruction of the Khmer Rouge, when Pol Pot tried to eliminate any religious influence in Cambodia. Because of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodians believed that temples were destroyed; it was not until the 1860's when missionaries rediscovered the lost city of temples. These beautiful temples are now on display to the public and beautifully represent the survival of the Cambodian cultural after a horrific genocide.
Our group visited the temples on Saturday night for sunset and then on Sunday morning for sunrise. Our group’s visit to the temple was at the perfect time. After two very busy, heartbreaking days of clinics in Poipet, our group needed time to reflect while seeing the beauty of Cambodia. The temples at Angkor Wat were a reminder of the strength of Cambodia. Even though there has been destruction of the temples, they have survived. The temples represent the marvel in Cambodia that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge could not destroy. The temples were also a reminder that there is restoration in store for the people of Cambodia. Even though our group experienced the heartbreaking reality of the poverty and hardships that the Cambodians face everyday, we also got to experience their perseverance. Cambodia has experienced destruction but their culture and beauty has survived and is being restored in incredible ways.