The Words of the Kawakami Family

My Home Stay Experience in Cambodia

Erica Kawakami
March 26, 2009

(During their time in Cambodia, all of ALT members had the opportunity to do home stay.)

Home stay was my favorite part of the two weeks we spent in Cambodia. We all stayed in houses in the countryside. I felt like that was the true Cambodia. We got to experience the real Cambodia not the fake Cambodia like in the city of Phnom Pen where the culture and heart of Cambodia is slowly being covered as the country develops.

I stayed at a Sopang’s house on an island called Wat Koh. It was a very humble house. There were animals everywhere. They were a family of tailors. When I arrived at Sopang’s house I felt really comfortable and at home. Her family welcomed me and Kahee as if we were a part of their family. While I was there I was constantly smiling and so joyful. I couldn’t really understand why. Externally there was so much missing. Really when I looked at their house and Kitchen and toilet I can’t believe that people actually live that way. Yet every minute I spent in that place I felt so happy and I didn’t want to leave.

As I reflected about it I realized that all you need is love. Really that is so true. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have running water or electricity. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting in the dining room eating lunch and you look through the cracks on the floor and see cows, chicken, duck, and dogs running around. It doesn’t matter if you are constantly being bitten by mosquitoes or if pigs are running over your feet as you try to watch TV. None of that matters. As long as you have love, the love of a family, you can be happy. All you need is love and you can live anywhere in any situation and be happy.

The reason I was happy there was because I was with a family. I was embraced by their love and Kahee and I could return love to them. 

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