(19 June 2013)-What does it mean to reconcile, and under what circumstances is reconciliation possible? These are some of the questions that JRS international staff is grappling with at a conference on Peace and Reconciliation being held at Mindol Metta Karuna, Siem Reap. Participants include International JRS staff from from Syria, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Colombia, among others.

Today, the group visited Trapeang Thmor; a dam that was built by Cambodians at the hands of the Khmer Rouge Regime. This was a traumatic site for many who experienced forced labor and lost their loved ones to starvation or exhaustion.

Sister Sok Eng, from Jesuit Service in Banteay Meanchay, accompanied international JRS staff to share her story as a former slave laborer. At this site, starvation took the lives of her three sisters, two brothers and father. Sok Eng told about her struggle with reconciliation and finding strength in faith after surviving such atrocities.

JRS serves in countries that are at different stages in the process of reconciliation-for some states that have not yet found peace, the thought of reconciliation may seem incredibly distant. The field trip to Trapeang Thmor and the shared personal journeys of finding peace, bring insight to how others with similar traumatic pasts might achieve reconciliation, and how JRS staff can contribute to the challenging and ongoing process of reconciliation in the countries it serves.