The problem with having a philosophical mind is that I am always looking for a purpose. What is my goal now? What is my mission? Why do I travel? What difference can this cause to others? I feel that there is a grater power that comes to my aid every time I suffer from a lack of purpose. In Cambodia, it was Leakhena.
I met Leakhena in a coffee shop the day I arrived to Phenom Penh. She started speaking to me and we hit it off well. She worked evenings at the coffee shop by the river. She wants to be a tailor so mornings she is an apprentice with a seamstress. She has a sister living in France and her ex-mother-in-law living in Utah, so when she has saved enough money she will go abroad to study tailoring.
I listened to her stories with awe. They also brought a sense of disliking against Cambodia. The corruption is incredible. Leakhena was forced to pay 1000 usd to a judge to get a divorce on her own. The police can fine you on virtually anything but usually you can try to bargain and get a discount.
The government officials and the rich act like the mob. One day, a big black car had parked in the middle of the street in front of a restaurant. The restaurant owner had asked the driver to move the car. When there was no reaction, he asked again. The car drove away. In the evening, the car came back. The driver and some other guys beat the owner of the restaurant so badly that he had to be hospitalized. It was a lesson for him, the restaurant owner had shown no respect.
Politics has always been a subject to hatred in Cambodia. Leakhenas uncle worked as a police officer during the Pol Pot regime. After the liberation of Cambodia, the new government, unofficially of course, said that he knew too much and put him on the black list, i.e. on the death list. The uncle fled to Europe. Another story is about her cousin. He had committed many petty thefts and was therefore denied by his family. He fled to the border with Thailand, every day illegally crossing the border to work in Thailand. It is not sure what happened to him, but apparently he got caught and he was burnt alive. That happens on a regular basis but neither the government of Cambodia or Thailand even admits to it.
I am so happy to have met Leakhena. I stayed in Phenom Penh a couple of days extra with her. We went eating to a 3usd/person restaurant, a twice a year experience for her. We drove around the city. She took me to her home and showed me photos from her wedding. I learned so many thing and I, once again, was showed what I am here for. I am here to grow. I am here to learn. I am here to live.