In February 2013, when I was still fairly new to Human and Hope Association, I saw a ghost. I promise I am not lying.
I had been working in the office when, as often happened, I had an overwhelming urge to pee. I walked out of the office along the veranda and after jumping down a couple of steps turned left to reach our toilet. We only had one toilet for 200 students, so often I would have to wait for my turn. On this instance, the toilet was empty, so I went straight in. After squatting then running water over my hands from the basin, I opened the door and stepped outside. I looked towards the back of the building to the right, where a cement fence with small pillars stood. There was a small boy, only reaching half the height of the fence, with his arms by his side standing pressed against the wall. I glanced left, then quickly looked back to the right, and the boy was gone.
I immediately ran away from the toilet and reached the office in a matter of seconds. “I saw a ghost,” I cried out to my Director and my friend who was there at the time. I quickly recounted the story, then looked out our office window at the wall. The ghost boy still hadn’t reappeared, and I was left wondering what the hell had just happened. Surely I wasn’t losing my mind?
Years later I learnt that the pagoda at Wat Chork had been used as a prison during the time of the Khmer Rouge, with many people being slaughtered within the pagoda walls. To this day I wonder if that boy was a victim of the horrific slayings.
Although I never saw him again, he wasn’t to be the last ghost I saw in Cambodia.