Cambodia has left me asking only one question; why?
Why is it, because of where they were born and the colour of their skin, that they live such impoverished lives?
Who allocates where you’re born and the gifts life gives you?
Why am I the fortunate one that has a solid roof over my head, getting to go to school each day and always have a full stomach?
Is it because I’m white? Is it because people care more about the wellbeing of Western people than of non Western people, the only difference being the colour of your skin? Why do we feel so bad when one white child starves but turn a blind eye when a whole community goes hungry?
Why is it only ever a dream for those children to go to University and never a reality? Why do students back home constantly whine and complain about going to school when only a nine hour flight away, children are desperate to get an education? Why does no one care in Australia about how fortunate they are just to be going to school? Why are these children in Cambodia so happy to ride for up to two hours on a rickety bike in darkness just for a one hour English class?
Why are Cambodians so carefree and joyful despite the horrific genocide they’ve recently gone through? Why do they constantly remain so hopeful in dire conditions when we would otherwise give up and say ‘its too hard’.
Why is it socially acceptable and expected that you smile broadly and wave to everyone you see on the streets in Cambodia, but completely socially unacceptable to spread that sort of happiness and joy back home? Why are they able to be so friendly and welcoming to complete strangers yet we are taught back home to keep to ourselves and not talk to those we don’t know?
Why did those I met in Cambodia love me without judgement or without caring about outside appearance when I have so many friends back home obsessed to impress? Why must we spend so much effort on ‘looking good’ and why are there those people who cannot even leave their house without make up on, when Cambodians seem so naturally happy within themselves? Why was I able to go a whole month without makeup and still feel beautiful in Cambodia, but feel inadequate without it in Australia?
Why do I have friends back home so lucky to experience things yet it still isn’t enough for them? Why can a Cambodian always make the most of something and always be happy with what they’re given, while there are people who complain if a party isn’t ‘up to their standards’ or that they are bored over something? Why can’t we learn to make our own fun and why can’t we learn to not care so much about the small things? Why are there still people who are bored out there, when there’s a whole big beautiful, amazing world out there to learn from and explore?
Coming back home, I’ve realised how angry I am at the way people live their lives back home and I hope this anger never subsides. It’s this anger that will drive me to live differently and to show others there’s a different world out there that they, and I, still need to educate ourselves on.I have felt constantly on edge since coming home because I do not want to stay still here. I want more adventures and I want more educating, more growing and more deep thinking and I don’t think I’ll ever be content without it.
Why didn’t I do this earlier?