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I Skipped School for a Week

April 8, 2013

By Paul Hyde


Here’s what I learned:

Walking 140km+ in the heat with 20kg on your back isn’t easy; but possible. When my dad and I walked we heard some pretty amazing and disturbing stories; usually both amazing and disturbing hand in hand. Even though those stories would scar most people just listening about to it; it’s very important that people don’t forget about them. Those events are like, both metaphorically and very literally, sin. It’s disturbing remembering but healthy to remember and understand in order that sin doesn’t repeat itself in the younger adult generation, or my generation, or any generation to come. My dad recently posted a blog called “They Don’t Believe Us” you who are reading this probably already read and know what it’s all about, and I for one do believe them. Why? Well, you pretty much figure out that your parents or grandparents aren’t lying when everyone over 40 in the entire country tell the exact same kind stories about horrific atrocities. Not only that but also there is a tremendous amount of proof all around Cambodia you can find in every jungle, rice field, old school foundation, Buddhist temple etc…  It’s illogical to not believe. But don’t get me wrong, even with all the proof I find it very hard to comprehend such disturbing history.

I never really knew much about my mom’s history during the Khmer Rouge, only bits and pieces over the years. Only until pretty recently I heard about where she was held and how long she was held (officially people were released 3 years 8 months 20 days but for some, including mom, it was almost 4 years)  and her walk to freedom with her mother and sister and little brother. But her mother and brother passed away before I got a chance to meet them. I’m very thankful that my mom and aunt survived the Khmer Rouge. I know that I have an incredible mom; she was strong enough to survive the Khmer Rouge and make that incredibly difficult walk back to freedom.

After this whole trip if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that history is important as well as honoring people from history. That was that whole point of the Freedom Walk after all. I may have technically missed school but I really didn’t. And I for sure want to do the Freedom Walk again someday, maybe with just my siblings and me (with dad giving moral support on a bike). After all is it even possible to honor someone too much?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Nel Dekker permalink
    April 8, 2013 2:12 pm

    No, Paul, you can’t ever give too much honor to people who have suffered so much. You are very right and I honor you for having made this march and for standing up for the truth! You go young man!!

  2. Lyn permalink
    April 8, 2013 6:39 pm

    You have had a week of education that you can not learn simply from a book. It is an education that you will never forget. It is wonderful that you have been able to have a greater understanding of your mom’s childhood and developing years which was total suffering and hardship by the hands of very cruel people. I am thankful that you were willing to take on this week of “outdoor education” and that you realize that you really do have an incredible mom. You have accomplished a great feat for a 13 year old. The walking might no be so bad for some your age, but in the constant heat, others would not have lasted a day. Blessings on you, Paul, for allowing God to use this experience for His greater purposes.

  3. April 9, 2013 2:29 am

    I am proud of you, Paul. This experience has been the education of a lifetime filled with lessons you will never forget. I am confident that God will give you many opportunities to pass the lessons you have learned on to others.

  4. Aunt Retha permalink
    April 9, 2013 3:26 am

    So glad you were able to make this walk and honor your mom and other relatives. What an incredible opportunity. We honor your Dad, Steve, for taking you on this walk and God bless you for wanting to share it with your own children some day. History is hard and difficult to comprehend but thankfully we can learn valuable lessons from days gone by.

  5. Marcia Frith permalink
    April 15, 2013 9:36 am

    Paul, this blog is a beautiful tribute to your mother in itself. You are right in saying that history MUST be remembered or it will be repeated. The Bible says “Honor your parents” and gives no limit on how much, just that it pleases God and honors Him too. God bless you, Paul.

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