No matter how prepared you are when visiting Cambodia and despite all the photos you may have seen, meeting the stone buddha heads and faces in the jungles of Siem Reap can be an astounding experience. There is a great serenity in those faces, a wonderful calm even with the sense of eeriness, and they raise hundreds of questions in the mind of any visitor.
Even when the temples are in a state of ruin and natural erosion and deterioration, Siem Reap is visited by thousands of monks who continue to pay homage in this historical place. Something religious is very alive and well in Cambodia and it is quite difficult to miss.
When we grumble about the extra pound we had to lift in our air conditioned gym, the heavy bag of groceries we had to move from the supermarket cart to the trunk of our car, or when we have to work an extra hour in the office, it is good to remember how some other people live around the world.
It is good to remember that wealth is not distributed fairly on this planet and that the balances are off and have been for a long while. Do we just say ‘this is life’ or do we work on having a better life? Many do, and as I come closer to the close of this month’s project on Congo, I send thanks to them. I am grateful to the humanitarians of the world, to those who give without counting the cost, and who push so hard to try and even out a crooked world.
Working children is a concept that is becoming more and more foreign to us in the western world, but in developing countries, young children are often forced to join the work force. I find myself showing these images to my daughter on several occasions when a reality check and a need for the right perspective on life is needed.
These boys were paused near one of the wall murals that UNICEF paints on the city streets to educate children through art. It seems to be the right way to deliver a message, as I saw the children totally absorbed in deciphering the message until they saw me and diverted their attention to act playful for the camera.
We rode camels into the south of Egypt and there we met the Nubians.
Nubia, the desert region between southern Egypt and northern Sudan, along the Nile river and home of the Noba people, is where I met this beautiful woman. A stark contrast to the almost inhuman and eerie remains of ancient Egypt, the Nubians are full of gentle smiles, simple ways, and colorful surroundings. Most of the homes were painted in light blue and the faces radiated a glowing brown. Heirs of old kingdoms and a complex relationship with ancient Egypt, the Nubians have a great air of mystery around them and their ancient culture.
We live in Shanghai, China with the other quarter of the Earth’s population who until a couple of months ago, did NOT recycle. All our trash at home goes in the same container and you could almost hear it screaming to be separated. Finally, a new and first recycling initiative is being introduced in homes in Shanghai. We were visited by representatives who offered us brown bags and brown containers to encourage recycling of just food waste. It is not too much, but it is a start.
Photo: A frozen salad in motion around Lea’s head rom the kingdom of plastic creations, hoping for it to go green for the sake of the whole planet…
At a certain point in our lives, our bodies grow to maximum capacity and from that point on, they begin to deteriorate. The only part of the human that continues to evolve is the head, the spirit and soul that drive it, and what lives in it and around it. That is the only place out of which a human can make a breakthrough, isn’t it? Humans evolve through their mental development, their art, their creativity, their revelations, their connections.. and if these are trained correctly and well invested in, then the greatest reward of all, wisdom and human development can occur. Which begs the question, why are we humans so obsessed with the outward looks of our bodies and why do we fear the signs of aging instead of looking inward as we are meant to do when we get older?