Dear Gabi, when your husband died many years ago, you were looking for a new purpose in life. Fate struck us almost 16 years ago at the Altona street festival, here in Hamburg, at the booth of my small organization Sorya. I told you long and productively about the association, its background, its activities and its prospects - my life's work! Less than a year later we were having a drink together in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; our eyes wandered over the raging hustle and bustle of the Riverside and I listened with great interest to the stories of your adventurous past.
Together we drove to Tropang Sock. I introduced you to the village, the people and the Sorya school without having the conscience to introduce you to your future homeland. In many years that followed you returned to this place to pursue your life's work with much joy and enthusiasm - learning & teaching!
Honesty - Freedom - Joy - Friendship
You vowed never to join an organization again! But you convinced Sorya to become a member. You vowed never to represent an organization again! I don't know anyone, myself included, whose name is more closely related to Sorya's values than yours! We rarely agreed, but we were constant companions towards the same goal.
In the village they respectfully called you UM – grandmother! A rare honor and kudos for your community involvement. You lived and loved cultural exchange. Meeting you was like opening my heart and soul.
You once said that in Germany you are constantly confronted with the suffering and death of your friends and family. Dedicated to Cambodia, you are among many young people who give you a lot of courage and hope for a better future.
It's been a few years since our last conversation. You made the phone call from your apartment on Bernstoffstrasse. Your voice sounded weak and quiet, your words were slow and delicate. A silent farewell to me, Sorya and Cambodia.
"A new cycle may come!" - Gabriele Ripke
Gratitude - Remembrance - November 19, 1943 - August 22, 2022