Tour Updates

Day 11

Picture of Alexandra Rice
Day 11
by Alexandra Rice - Friday, 16 December 2016, 2:26 AM

Day 11

Day 12 - Ethan

Today is not an easy day to describe, honestly I don't think I can do it justice, but I'll do my best. 

Heart wrenching, devastating, unfathomable, loving, compassionate, hopeful. After a simple breakfast at the Alibi Guesthouse, we left on tuk tuks with our guide Bunna to the genocide museum, and were soon able to experience the first three words. It was extremely difficult for us pilgrims to see the evils that Cambodia had lived through, and many of us were very troubled going through the high school converted into a prison. Things that we'd heard about, and had perhaps seen as just an event in history, became very real and confronting. We learnt of the injustices and inhuman ways the prisoners were treated, but together we were able to help each other through the overwhelming experience, and we headed to the next experience we new would be difficult. The Killing Fields were another level of confronting for me. Through our audio tours we learnt of the suffering that so many Cambodians went through, and I think for all of us, it was impossible to not feel pure sadness at such tragedies. One of the survivors stories "loss of an infant" particularly hit me hard, as I listened to the struggles of a mother not being able to provide breast milk to her child because of starvation. Other stories like these really showed us how important it is is that we are pilgrims, trying our best to be in solidarity with the people who's lives had been upturned only 40 years ago. Although these two journeys were some of the hardest of our lives, we are so fortunate to be able to share in the experiences of the Cambodian people, and to be able to really appreciate the people that we come into contact with now.

The final three words, loving, compassionate and hopeful have been shown to us in all of our experiences with the Cambodian people's. The joy that is evoked from a simple smile or hello truly shows the resilience that the Cambodians have to be a community of kindness, and to not fall into the trap of a hateful revenge. This was further shown to us in our visit to Tabitha, a program that aims to empower women and give them independence to take back their lives. We were given a presentation on how women and families are helped to save their own money to become independent and how they are also given the opportunity of decent work in silk and we were able to purchase some of the beautiful works afterwords. From that, we rested and headed to dinner at Romdeng, a restaurant that trains people to be independent and to seek a better life for themselves. After a good feed, we headed back home to debrief for the day. Looking forwards to a rest after an tough day.

Ethan Richards on behalf of Marist Solidarity Mission


Picture of Adriano Di Prato
Re: Day 11
by Adriano Di Prato - Friday, 16 December 2016, 7:06 AM

Hello pilgrims,

It appears that today you all experienced the worst of humanity and the best of humanity. Your experience at the killing fields may have highlighted the horrors of the past but we have a responsibility today to ensure we never encounter such inhumanity again. Unfortunately as humans we often don't learn from the past and the horror of genocide is happening today in Syria. 

On the flip side I'm glad Ethan was able to describe an encounter of love and hope. As young men you will become our future leaders and if you embrace the notion of respecting the dignity of all we can create a tomorrow that is inclusive and hope-filled.

I wish you all safe travels.

Warm regards,


Picture of Andrew Crettenden
Re: Day 11
by Andrew Crettenden - Friday, 16 December 2016, 7:38 AM

Ethan you described it beautifully, I'm in tears! So incredible for you to see the direct consequences of hate and tyranny. I'm so glad that you are supporting these businesses to help people get out of poverty. Can't wait to see you all safely home but enjoy the last few days. Thanks again for these daily blogs they've been amazing.

Love Wendy Crettenden

Picture of Rhonda Bowers-Bone
Re: Day 11
by Rhonda Bowers-Bone - Friday, 16 December 2016, 7:59 AM
Sometimes in life we are faced with some incredibly tough challenges. How we deal with these challenges is how our lives are shaped. It is unimaginable what some people go through especially people who live in war-torn countries. I am incredibly impressed that you boys put your hands up to go to Cambodia and subject yourselves to an experience that really puts you out of your comfort zone, not many people are willing to do that. I am confident that what you have experienced over the past 11 days will stay with you forever and will shape you into caring, compassionate and understanding men that will do amazing things with your lives. I'm  sure you will often think back to the beautiful, smiling, resilient and courageous Cambodian people. From your insightful recounts I know I will.

Enjoy the last couple of days
Rhonda Bowers.
Picture of Andrew Crettenden
Re: Day 11
by Andrew Crettenden - Friday, 16 December 2016, 8:09 AM

Dear Ethan, thanks for your thoughtfully written but inspiring  account of your day of extremes. As overwhelming as it can be, it is so important that we are not just reminded, but compelled to never repeat past atrocities. 

It is reassuring to know you have come together as a strong and united group to support each other with such an experience.

Also, it is hard to believe it is only a matter of days before you all return home.  Looking back it has gone so quickly, it must have simply flown by for you all!

Stay safe and see you all soon.


Ed Doyle
Re: Day 11
by Edward Doyle - Friday, 16 December 2016, 8:14 AM

Well done Ethan on writing an excellent reflection on what was no doubt a very challenging day. The story you refer to from the audio tour still makes me shudder. Beautiful photo of the group. Speaks volumes on how you guys have formed as a group. Alley really looks the part. What happened to the Pyjama Pants?

Safe journey home

Ed Doyle

Picture of Jerome Richards
Re: Day 11
by Jerome Richards - Friday, 16 December 2016, 8:35 AM

It  would  have  been  hard  to  write, i felt the  pain of  your  experience, so  thank  you  Ethan. I hope  you  have  a  greater  understanding  of  why your grandparents escaped out  of  Laos in  the  70's for  a  better  life  for  themselves.

Thank you to all of  you for  taking  the  time to  write a  blog  each  day  so  that we  are  all  able  to  share  the  journey  with  you, we  are  most  grateful. Through  this life  changing  experience, you  have  demonstrated the Marist virtues and  qualities: Humility, Simplicity & Modesty .

Jamie, congratulations on the  Marist Staff Award, I'm glad  that  you  have  been  recognised by  the students  of all  that  you  have  contributed towards  Remar and  the  Cambodia  Immersion.

Thank you  Aley, Andrew, Sarah  and  Jamie for taking  such  good  care  of  our  boys.

Safe  travels  back  home, we  all  miss  you and  so  look  forward  to  seeing  you  on  Sunday!

Best  wishes  

Dune  Richards  xx

Picture of Liz Tyquin
Re: Day 11
by Liz Tyquin - Friday, 16 December 2016, 9:11 AM

Well said Dune i too felt the pain.

Picture of Melissa Mackellin
Re: Day 11
by Melissa Mackellin - Friday, 16 December 2016, 8:49 AM

Ethan, what a gift you have given to use all back at home. 

In every darkness there is light. You have all been that light for so many, and been witness to the lights of others who will continue to remain in Cambodia. Bring your lights back home and keep them bright. Be the light, the hope, the compassion in our community. And maybe one day, when you again look outside our home, you'll share the gifts you have received as a pilgrim once more.

Stay safe, God bless you all.

Picture of Gaye Viney
Re: Day 11
by Gaye Viney - Friday, 16 December 2016, 9:41 AM

Hi All

Thanks Ethan on such insight into the events of your day. 

It was always going to be tough but it is so different to k paw this stuff but to be standing where such injustice has tKen place is very different indeed. Well done on supporting each h other and to the staff who I know would have been amazing support while trying to deal with their own feeling. 

I guess you will all be very different people for this amazing experience when you get home. 

Lots of hugs and kisses from all your families.

Lots of love , take care,

Gaye Viney

Picture of Lisa Murphy
Re: Day 11
by Lisa Murphy - Friday, 16 December 2016, 9:52 AM

What a beautifully written, insightful and informative blog Ethan.  You had me in tears reading of the horrors the Cambodians have endured.  This was followed by a large smile knowing that there is hope and that the Cambodian people have been able to move on to happier lives after all those atrocities. Knowing that wonderful boys like all of you will be part of the future generation, gives us all hope of having more peace in the world.  I am so proud of all of you for choosing to take this wonderful but confronting trip.  Hope the last few days are as enriching as the rest of the trip has obviously been.

Take care and looking forward to seeing all of you.

Love Lisa, Will and Maggie xxx

Picture of Carolyn Young
Re: Day 11
by Carolyn Young - Friday, 16 December 2016, 3:10 PM

Thank you, Ethan, for your very personal reflection.

To see humanity's inhumanity is heartbreaking. The hope that lifts us from that pain is knowing that there are also people in the world (such as yourselves) who so generously give of themselves to ensure that God's love is felt by all they encounter. The generosity of spirit and the care that you have all experienced from each other, the Marists in Pailin, Theara and Bunna, and of course from the Cambodians that you have been privileged to meet makes such a difference and is the best of humanity - I pray that you all continue to live that way of life and bring others with you on that same path.

Thanks to everyone who is responding to the blog! The chance to share in your experiences of this immersion has been wonderful.

Kind regards,