Cambodia has seen far more than its fair share of tragedy and misery. The blind masseuses offer a glimpse of the true Cambodian heart and will to carry on.
With the onset of the genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia took a serious turn for the worse from the late 1970s through the early eighties. When the Khmer Rouge were finished killing or starving as much as twenty percent of the population and finally thrown out of power, the land turned into a lawless morass with all that implies. During this time, numerous people were left disabled. A particularly significant disability was blindness, which arose from torture or muggings undertaken by throwing battery acid in the face of victims.
As the country recovers, a unique and heartening development has occurred with Cambodians that are blind. The Association for the Blind in Cambodia, along with international backers, has been training the blind to be masseuses. Their motto is, "The blind can see with there hands."
Members of the association travel the country to find potential masseuses. The individuals are then trained until they are masters of the art of massage. The Association has even gone one step further. In Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, the Association for the Blind has opened massage businesses known as "Seeing Hands," which solely employee the blind masseuses.
I heartily and enthusiastically recommend you get a massage at Seeing Hands if you're traveling in Cambodia. Driving anywhere in Cambodia is a bone jarring experience. There is no better way to get out the knots than one of these massages. The masseuses are friendly and seem to be able to find every little knot. I guarantee you'll feel like a new man or woman after getting one.
Each Seeing Hands location has slightly different prices, but all are cheap as is typical for Cambodia. You can expect to spend between three to five dollars for the best one-hour massage you've ever had.
On top of it, you'll feel good to know you're helping people help themselves. In fact, many of the masseuses make more money a month than people who can see!