There is no way at this point to capture the experience. My blogging muscles are still pretty wimpy. I am back to Mexico after co-running two immersion education programs. The first was in Cambodia and the second one was in India. Both were extremely powerful but in different ways. Yep. Words fail. But some that come to mind are love, sincerity, kindness, courage, and tragedy and the power of the human soul. Nope. Even that list fails to capture it.
This is the fifth year of going to Cambodia? Each year my colleague and friend Dr. John Miller take a small group of family therapy students to Cambodia. The first few days we expose them to a little of the culture as well as the horrors of the Pol Pot Regime. One of the most powerful days is when we visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum and the killing fields. Approximately 21% of the population of Cambodia were killed during this period. Nearly everyone we meet lost someone. At the killing field, teeth and bone still make it to the surface of the soil after a rain. It is quite a jarring experience for me each time. I question sometimes about being part of students loosing innocence. I justify it that if they are going to be therapists, who may even work with families who immigrated during this period, they should know. All of this is tragic and ugly. Yet for me Cambodia is profoundly spiritual. The power of humans to overcome inspires me. I honestly love the people of Cambodia and I am inspired by them.
We spend the next few days teaching psychology students at the Royal University of Phnom Pehn. They are honestly among the best students on the planet. This is the first psychology program to develop after the Pol Pot Regime. These students will play a major role in the development of mental health services in their country.
Ok. I am accepting that I don't have the skill or time to really explain how powerful the experience is for me each year.
We had an amazing group of students from the US and Mexico participate. This is the second time to co-lead a group with Dr. Raji Natrajan (and you will not find a better soul). We also had Dr. Jennifer Young help us with coordinating the billion details involved. What really made this powerful is the group of students from the Madras School of Social Work and other local people.
Is it better to do a very weak blog than no blog? Yeah....I am not sure either.