Something was scurrying across the floor.
I followed it with my ears.
The teenager and his older brother I was sandwiched between slept contentedly, occasionally scratching their faces or smacking their lips with satisfaction. The females slept on a single mattress in the corner.
The cows shuffled and dozed beneath us, and the deafening drone of mosquitos rose up through the gaps in the floorboards.
This Cambodian home on stilts had done what so many humans have done for me over the years, they reached out and took me in.
In essence, they took responsibility for the well-being of a stranger.
And the following day when I packed my bag to leave, one after the other stuffed money into my hand.
A foreigner with opportunities they could only dream of.
I feel Sebastian Junger explains precisely this moment in his wonderful book, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging.
Using examples from his personal experience in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and time with Native Americans, Junger weaves a simple and compelling picture of what makes us human, and why all hope for the survival of the human race depends on recognising what is universal in each of us, rather than what makes us different and separates us.
There is so much more to this book, but Junger’s writing is so clear and concise that I’ll only confuse his message. Instead I’ll leave the contents fresh for you to explore!