Army Mom’s Safe Haven

Christina: Lost In Cambodia
Photograph by: Teru Kuwayama/Corbis

August 4, 2003 Cambodia

Cambodian-American gangbangers survived the deadly streets of US cities, and they did time in prison. But after post-9/11 immigration crackdowns, the former refugees were deported to a nation they hardly know. Teru Kuwayama photographs a crew of exiles eking out an existence in war haunted Phnom Penh - a place they are all too reluctant to call home.

LOST IN CAMBODIA

They are boys - gangbangers, young men
never to be young again
haven't been young for a long, long while,
haven't found many reasons to smile...
Survived the mean streets of the USA
until that fateful September day,
when the world went crazy and we were scared.
They were tossed out like no one cared.
We sent them back to a place unknown;
they don't consider Phnom Penh home.
Exiles - Refugees - Misplaced - Lost
They are just examples of War's steep cost
Bowing to the Buddha at Angkor Wat
I wonder at the lessons they've been taught.
I wonder at the lives that are sadly wasted
how the Freedom of this country tasted
to refugees of that place and her killing fields;
I wonder how loneliness really feels......
They stick together, posturing with fright -
gangbangers wondering where they'll sleep tonight.

©Copyright April 2004 by Christina