stories of resilience from Cambodia and Sri Lanka

This past week I read two books in preparation for my first trip to Cambodia and my sixth visit to Sri Lanka. I highly suggest both.

I try to read first-person stories from a country before I visit. Although both books address profound loss I realize there are many fully positive stories from these countries as well.

First They Killed My Father is an autobiographical story told by a young, well-to-do girl from Phnom Penh who survives the genocide arranged by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979.

Wave recounts the loss of a woman’s family while on vacation in Yala when the 2004 South Asian tsunami struck Sri Lanka.

While both stories are breathtakingly horrific and tragic both women are courageous, determined and resilient despite seemingly insurmountable heartbreak.



6 thoughts on “stories of resilience from Cambodia and Sri Lanka

    • Me too! 🙂 It gives me context and helps inform my perceptions when I know what others have experienced before me…the reason I enjoy history as well!

      Thank you for your comment, it helped me find your blog!

  1. Good travels to you! The horror of Cambodia was seared into my mind at an impressionable age and somehow always stayed with me. I would love to visit there. And Sri Lanka – that makes me think of Running in the Family my Michael Ondaatje. A crazy book that I read years ago. Great advice to read the native-grown narratives! Be well!

    • Thank you! We are back and I hope to share the experience sometime soon. Cambodia was a great place to visit!
      I’ll have to check out Running in the Family…I’ve only read Anil’s Ghost and, of course, The English Patient by Ondaatje.

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