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Paul Hyde: Walking for Mom

April 3, 2013

By Paul Hyde

Paul standing next to a canal built by Noit and other children during the Khmer Rouge

Paul standing next to a canal built by Noit and other children during the Khmer Rouge

I agreed to do the Freedom Walk with my dad about a week ahead of time. I decided to go because we were going to do it in honor of my mom and of those survivors who did the walk as well. I was blessed not to be born during the Pol Pot era; and I’m more blessed to be born in the city during a time of progress, and even more blessed to be born to such a wonderful family; Mom, Dad, Anna, and Odom. I am also very blessed to be properly nourished and get a good education. So when I hear about all those horrific stories about this era it makes me very thankful for everything I have. You have probably already heard or read about some of my mom’s stories on my dad’s blog and a lot sound quite difficult to believe. After my Mom was released in ’79 she had to walk 240km back to the capitol when she was just skin and bones probably weighing only 20kg at the age of 16; I’m 13 and weigh about 60kg, so it was extremely difficult for her. Yet she made it and is with us today.

Today the Pol Pot era has been over for some time and young people under 30; mostly in the big cities, hardly believe or don’t believe the stories their parents or grandparents tell them. So kids now have no idea of the unbelievable hardships their parents or grandparents lived through, not even I know a fraction of these hardships. That’s why my dad wanted to do the freedom walk with him, so that I may know a little bit of what my mom went through during one stage of her life. The day before our big walk we left Poi Pet earlier than originally planned to be able to be closer to our starting point. On the first day of our walk we went to the exact spot where my mom was held during the Khmer Rouge, after about 30 minutes of looking around and talking to the local families there my dad and I started our walk. After about 2-3 hours our 20kg backpacks started to get very heavy and our feet and back started to hurt. We have met so many nice people so far on the road and they have been so generous.  This is a big answer to prayer.

If I was in Mom’s position 34 years ago, I don’t think I would have made it apart from God’s help.  I am so thankful that God helped my Mom to finish the walk.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2013 10:09 pm

    Great word, Paul. Thank you for honoring your Mom in this way. She is a remarkable woman who survived one of the most horrific times in the history of the world. How wonderful that God is using your Mom to sow the seeds of love and life in Cambodia’s former killing fields. I am praying for you and your Dad as you continue your journey to honor your Mom.

  2. April 3, 2013 10:16 pm

    Paul!! your life and heart are so encouraging! Praying for you :)

  3. Janet Caldwell permalink
    April 4, 2013 2:23 am

    Paul, Thank you for sharing your heart and taking on this challenge with your Dad. I know you and your Dad and those you meet along the way will be blessed.

  4. April 4, 2013 2:43 am

    So good to read your thoughts Paul! You are right that we can have no idea what the people really went through during those terrible years. This walk will change your life, teach you much and enable you to identify a bit with the beautiful Khmer people… With love, Nel

  5. April 4, 2013 7:14 am

    Good on you Paul … it’s great to hear from you as we hear about your epic adventure

  6. Lyn permalink
    April 4, 2013 9:43 am

    Thank you Paul for letting us read your perspective on the freedom journey. I am sure your mom is honored that you would do this to honor her. You have a very special mom. Thank you for showing your love to her in this way. I am praying for you and your dad every day as you make this journey.

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