A couple of years back, several months after I finished college, I decided I wanted to volunteer with a non-profit, humanitarian organization in Cambodia. I spent time working with children in the garbage dump, biking 16 miles a day to teach English on a boat in the middle of nowhere, and “searching for my soul.” While I was there, I learned many valuable lessons about life, myself and the definition of love.
This picture was taken in a village in Cambodia. The organization is currently working on a relocation site for the some people living in a garbage dump (the village). I walked around this village soaking in the stench of the dump, the smiles of the Cambodian people, and the sheer nakedness and vulnerability of a devastated nation. As I was looking around, I came upon a mother and her young son sitting on a dry patch of land in the middle of a trash heap immersed in muddy water. They greeted me with praying hands and gentle spirits. I communicated as best I could to ask if I could take a picture of her son. She nodded yes and pushed him along to the side to sit down, and she made sure that he posed with his hands pressed palm to palm. I snapped the picture and thanked her kindly.
This turned out to be the one of the most profound pictures I have ever taken. To me, it symbolizes a peace that the Cambodian people have even in the midst of struggle, filth and poverty. It is rare to hear Cambodians complain about their living situation, because most are grateful that they are lucky enough to survive in such conditions. When I look at this picture, it reminds me of how fortunate I am, and how I should never take for granted a single day that I have to sit down at a table to eat nourishing food, drink clean water, and sleep in a warm, comfortable bed instead of a stack of bamboo stalks.
So let this picture be my mantra, “To complain is to be ignorant of what you have. To have peace is to know that things could be worse.”
Kristen. Bell. Found. Lovely. Weddings. LeahAndMark.com