I met up with Elizabeth Chafcouloff, an SLP from the US who started Speech Therapy Cambodia (speechie friends, check out her Facebook page!). She is currently working with two hospitals in Phnom Penh and is training their neurology students about speech, language, cognitive and swallowing evaluation and remediation. It was so cool to see how excited they were about expanding their knowledge base and including the tenants of speech, language, and swallowing in their assessment and treatment of patients. Cambodia (the whole country) currently has no speech therapists or a speech therapy education program. Elizabeth is working to add some curriculum to the training program for doctors as well as physical therapists. I don't have any pictures because I thought I would be able to return the next day when they were doing FEEs training, but I got sick. Overall, I am so thankful for the short but wonderful experience and I hope to meet up with Elizabeth again!
I went for a workout at the only Crossfit gym in Cambodia, Crossfit Amatak. While I was a bit rusty and awoke the next few days to soreness, it was a needed change from our usual travel workout of running, situps, burpees, and/or jump rope. The gym was very welcoming, and they even had a (mostly) paleo café attached, which provided a respite from rice and noodle dishes.
My afternoon was spent at Tuol Sleng, also known as S21, which was a secret prison the Khmer Rouge sent perceived enemies for torture and almost certain execution. It is not a pleasant experience. It’s mostly an empty complex filled with only pictures of the horrors left behind when the Vietnamese threw the Khmer Rouge out of Phnom Penh.
This was most of the exhibit at Tuol Sleng, rows of pictures of victims. Women and children of the accused were also killed to prevent retribution.
The next day, with Christy feeling well enough to head out, we went to Choeung EK. Of all of the notorious “killing fields” that were used during the Cambodia genocide, Choeung Ek is the closest to Phnom Penh and as such has been set up as the de facto memorial site for all of the genocide victims. Most of the S21 victims were brought here for execution. Again, another profoundly sad place to visit. Some remains were excavated and had been placed in a memorial stupa, and more remained in their makeshift graves. The most jarring moments came about from seeing remains that were exposed, either on or just off the dirt walking path. Memorial staff placed warning/do not disturb signs in these locations, but it seems they had run out of enough signs to place as some exposed remains had no such signage. Apparently this problem is exacerbated during the rainy season.
Coronation Hall Selfie.
Pictures aren't "technically" allowed in the Silver Pagoda but that's so you don't photo the Emerald Buddha. These are the silver tiles.