Interview with Adrianne and Rick

Siem Reap Street Kids Art Program at NGO

We introduced Adrianne and Rick earlier on this blog. Having told their story to several people recently and feeling renewed inspiration, we wanted to share more about them and their work.

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).

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Phnom Penh: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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.

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The American War

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.

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An Honest Look at Vietnam’s Subsidy Period

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!

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