While putting the finishing touches on our website, we spent a considerable amount of time at internet cafés in Tbilisi, Georgia. At one café, we noticed a semi-private room set up with couches, comfortable chairs and computers outfitted with webcams for video Skype calls. The typical configuration: children and grandmother crowded around the computer and Mommy or Daddy on the video screen. So, what's going on here?
We feel that Adrianne and Rick can tell their story better than we can. Below are excerpts from an email interview conducted after they returned to Canada from their latest work in Cambodia (December 2006-March 2007).
In contrast to its sunshine and smiles, Cambodia's recent history under the control of the Khmer Rouge is nothing short of horrific.
https://photos.uncorneredmarket.com/Asia/Cambodia/Phnom-Penh/i-w7LcdvtTuol Sleng Genocide Museum – Phnom Penh
Tuol Sleng, originally a high school in downtown Phnom Penh, was transformed into Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge between 1975-1979. It's estimated that close to 20,000 people were imprisoned here; only seven are known to have survived.
Given our nationality and the fact that the Vietnam War ended just over 30 years ago, we were surprised that Vietnamese people showed us no animosity or resentment. In fact, when we told people that we were from America, they very often smiled – and genuinely so. We'd score even more points when we mentioned that we used to live in California, home to a large Vietnamese community. Cynics would argue that the Vietnamese are shrewd businesspeople, but we're certain that our treatment wasn't all about business.
We hired a car to take us at 5:30 AM from Hoi An to the Hindu temple complex of My Son, about an hour’s drive away. We arrived in such good time that the ticket office had yet to open and used our available time to share a coffee with our driver as we waited for the ticket office to open.
Our visit to Hanoi's Vietnamese Museum of Ethnology included all the requisite colorfully embroidered and woven clothing, agriculture tools, religious artifacts and sample living quarters in an ample demonstration of Vietnam's surprisingly wide and diverse variety of ethnic minorities. The extraordinarily honest and introspective exhibition on the difficulties of life under Vietnam’s Subsidy Economy between 1975 and 1986 – now that was exceptional!