Side by Side - Cambodia

Wednesday 18 Nov

Cathie explores the complexities, joys and dreams of intercultural relationships.

"To the kids' delight we have discovered a roller blading skate part in Siem Reap. The Khmer kids race around on their skates and go over ramps whilst expertly dodging my three novices, as I nervously look on, fearing perhaps a broken wrist or trip to the hospital. On one visit a Khmer girl came alongside Ruby determined to show her how to traverse down a small ramp without falling over. She was gentle but persistent and was just as happy as Ruby when together they made it down the incline without a tumble. Watching on it made me wonder, what does it mean to be alongside our Khmer neighbours in a mutual way? Will we ever be able to experience equality and mutuality in relationships when our white skin often eludes to wealth, education and a lifestyle that some Khmer aspire to - their aspirations influenced no doubt through their exposure to YouTube and Facebook. 

How do we navigate these dynamics whilst desiring authentic relationships with our new neighbours? The truth is that however long we live in our village, and come to understand Khmer culture and language, we are still going to look, sound, and be different. Through this It is our prayer, that in our relationships we can accept our differences and each other’s strengths, weaknesses and brokenness. We hope to be gracious guests in this place and as we walk alongside our neighbours we ask that Jesus will transform us alike. There will always be Khmer and Barung (foreigner) but as we celebrate our differences and find our common ground our hope is that we’ll be united in Christ."
- Cathie, Intercultural Worker in Cambodia « Back to News