Peace arrives only in small steps. After a week in and around Shianoukville I followed the invitation of the teacher in Andoung Toek to support their project. With a bag of whiteboard markers and refill ink, I went with small speedboat from Shianoukville to Thmor Sor, a small fisher town with smelly garbage patches underneath the stilt houses on the shore. A restaurant full of small kids, watching a modern Chinese Kung-Fu movie. From there it is 25 miles through the Bokumsator National Park to Andoung Toek, crossing Mangrove surrounded rivers by ferries, soft ups and downs on a shadowless road. I spend one week in Andoung Toek, creating a homepage for the BCDO project (www.bcdo-cambodia.org), talking with the kids and volunteer teachers about environment protection and awareness of money dependency. Mum (the wife of the landlord) serves delicious dishes for lunch and diner. On the weekend, we do some boat and hiking tours in the nearby forests, climb awesome rocky riverbeds in the jungle. The kids gather al sorts of wild plants and empty their shrimp- and crab traps int the river. There is a wedding ceremony which I'm invited to go. A 20 US$ gift is expected from each guest. I'm getting grumpy on the imbalance of the monetary system in Cambodia since a local worker probably has to work almost one week to earn that much money. Plus, the guys at BCDO could use this money much better.
Sarah invites me to spend some time with her in Siem Reap in her apartment outside town. Two days cycling and hitchhiking from Andoung Toek and then I'm there, happy to be back with her, happy to rest, happy to have a kitchen in a really comfortable place. A good opportunity to to focus on my studies, to rest the legs and retreat from that negative mindset that piled up in my head. Yet I can't get over it, and after three weeks it is time to leave for me.
Having more than two weeks time until I can enter Vietnam and no interest in traveling around Cambodia anymore, I'm happy to enter the Hariharalaya Yoga Center nearby Siem Reap. 9 days of great vegan food, home-made bread, intense Yoga sessions in the morning, Meditation at sunset and reading. Slowly I'm becoming aware of what happened to me, what foolish games my mind started to play in the past months – with a mind always judging and complaining about the situation, lecturing the people around me – that's certainly not the way to happiness nor inner peace... Yet, apparently those mind patterns kept coming up in my mind, on and on. Time for a change, for a reprogramming of the firmware. And the body feels much better without coffee and the daily Yoga exercises instead.