Walking past the pathways in the temples and night markets in Siem Reap, I couldn’t help but notice traditional music being played in the background. Upon further walking, I was greeted by a sight of individuals playing musical instruments. Sitting in one corner while waiting for my companions to arrive, I listened attentively while taking a break from all the trekking. I didn’t observe it at first but only when I read a signboard did I realize that these people playing stringed and percussion instruments were all disabled. The label said that they were land mine victims in Cambodia.
“You mean to say that there could be bombs underground from where we are standing?” I asked my friend who’s been in Cambodia twice. She lifted her eyebrows to answer my question which made me terrified at the thought that an explosive device could be lurking anywhere from where we were. It even came to a point where I wondered why we visited Siem Reap in the first place.
Walking past the temples, this sight greeted me.
To this day it is estimated that there may still be up to six million land mines scattered around the Cambodian countryside which cause around 35 deaths a month. Already 40,000 people have lost limbs due to land mines giving Cambodia the unenviable record of having the most amputees per capita (about one in every 275 people have lost a limb). – Land Mine Victims in Cambodia – Wikipedia
After further research, I found out that the number of casualties have dropped every year which is a good sign. Still, one must be careful not to trek those off-the-beaten paths and one should consult the locals if it’s safe to go for a walk in remote areas.
I sat and took a break while admiring their music.