Humans of Khmer America

Narate Keys

The crisp snow bites your face, and then the cold wind knocks you off your feet. Just like the first time I experienced Minnesota’s mid-January winter. It was the same feeling I felt when we landed in Phnom Penh. My dream of coming home is a reality. I am blessed to be traveling with another 22 participants. Our Cambodia Journey to help street children has taught us the simplest meaning of life. I am forever grateful for this life changing trip.

Facebook Status On Sat. 8/29/2015

Yesterday we went to a school call Tuol Sleng, now it’s called The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. It was once a place of shared education; in addition, it was turned into a place of torture called S-21. I knew I was going to cry, but I didn’t know how much. My tears flowed as soon as I stepped into the front gate and read the rules. My heart is heavy, but my spirit is filled with HOPE. *Khmer love Khmer*

Journal Entry 8/31/15

Today, I feel bitter sweet, a catch 22 as one would say. I am grateful to have what we have at home in Minnesota. Today, I realized that I have shelter and many privileges. Yesterday we took all our donations to the YMCA in the slum area. Where there were 200 plus people waiting to receive the donation. The 20 kilo of rice will feed a family for a year. There were kids and adults lining up for hours underneath the tent.

My emotions are so strong that I want to give back, but I’m overwhelmed and angry. I’m upset that I can’t give my all to these kids, I’m upset that I can’t do more, I’m upset that I’ve been spoiled with so much abundance and taking advantage of my life in America. This journey is a burning flame that is changing me to the core. I am moving and going to move forward to the next chapter my life. I am going to finish school and I’ll be coming back every year to give back. This is the life I want to live. This is my destiny.

Narate Keys, 33
Minneapolis, MN

Interview by Lauren Imbrock

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