Life is in a gentle dance

I looked down to find the dark green jungles and the auburn soil covered the earth interweaving with each other. It's 45 minutes by plane from Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, to Siem Reap, where I arrived for the first time. Except for two or three major roads, there were mostly dirt roads, I was kind of lost.

Short, thick woods stretched along the borders of the rice fields with tall palm trees. I came to Cambodia to see ordinary people within rural communities. These peoples make up 80% of Cambodia's population. I wanted to experience their everyday lives.

The jungles of Siem Reap, located in the north western part of Cambodia, are home to many ancient ruins of the Khmer Dynasty, most famous being Angkor Wat. The Khmer Dynasty came into power in the 9th Century to the 15th Century. Modern Cambodia can trace much of its heritage to the Khmer Dynasty. In the modern times, after the outbreak of Cambodian civil war in 1970, during dictatorship of Pol Pot (1974-1980), about one thied of civilians was lost due to the stavation, war, and massacre.

Everyone I had the pleasure of meeting was kind and warm hearted. And day after day they woke up with the sun, spent most of a day working in the sun and if it showerd, they catched any fish in streams and tiny marshes. I felt that their happiness was due to their simple, nature intwined lifestyle despite their history of massacre and loss. And this happiness seemed to stem from ancestral pride in the once powerful Khmer Dynasty.