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Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh
August 26th 2011
Published: August 26th 2011EDIT THIS ENTRY

so, it has been a few days now since I have been at the volunteer house and it has been great. There is less to report in a way since so much has happened and it has all been a blur of admin, lessons or buiding personal relationships. I have taken far less in from observationsal experiences out and around the city but have managed to capture a few worthy photos.

So it begins on the 24th august, we all arrive at the house picked up in tuk tuks. The ates are these great iron doors which are locked from behind with a padlock so entry in to the house can be tricky, but thats the intention. As foreigners, we are of great interest and the locals congregate outside to see what we look like, what we wear, do and eat. especially the little kiddies -which are so cute.
In total, there are 13 volunteers living in the house, and a few more who live outside because their partners already work here. As I have said, everyone is friendly and interesting, ( I have to say this, they might read it) and has something of worth to say. Each is very individual and come from each corner of the globes. I share a room with a lovely South African, Natalie, and live with English, Indian, Amerian, Canadian, Irish, Kiwi and Australian. Ok, maybe not every corner but it is most corners covered no?

We have been getting up at 7 ready for our khmer lessons. Khmer pronouced kermai. So far i know how to say hello and thankyou and sister. I keep trying to remember the other words that string a sentence together but my language has always been bad and have always been incapable of remembering other languages.

After our lesson yesterday, we took the tuk tuks home but it was pouring down with rain. it is the monsoon season so we expect rain a few times a week but this was a waterfall. The roads flooded quickly and were under a metre of water in some places within 15 mins. The tuk tuk drivers engine got flooded metres away from our house and rather than make us walk, he pushed the tuk tuk down the length of the road. I felt bad but upon closer inspection, the water was full od dead rats, wee and poo. By this morning, it had all gone.
The rain cointinued late in to the night and I watched four young boys run about in the waters, kicking, shoving and pretending to kill each other james bond style. I attempted to take photos but the blasted camera wouldnt work in suchdark light.

Tomorrow there are more lessons and orientations to attend followed by more drinking, exploring and investigating. I have started to get to grips with haggling and consider myself average but aim to be outstanding within the following weeks. As soon as i learn the language i'll become pro.
there are a lot of cheap labels here. there is an H&M, Kipling, Gap and Hollister and Abercrombie and fitch factories close by so much of the clothing goes missing from the factories and is found on the stalls in the local markets.
nothing fits though, I am big size.
to be fair, these cambodian girls are like children. i am a giant.

On monday we are going to see a project in northern cambodia, a short 7 hour bus journey away. I am not looking forward to the journey but as an experience, it should be good as we will be staying with locals in rural cambodia. The company i work for rund projects in rural cambodia in order to imprive their livlihoods, so it will be interesting to see how what I do will influence and benefit others. I will also be working in an orphanage up the road from where we are. there are a lot of children orphaned or left bu parents due to rates of poverty. Canbodias capital city is very undeveloped and I was not prepared for that, but the amount of poverty is huge and it is every where. Most countries can bruch it under the carpets by compartmentalising groups in to certain streets or types of housing. Here, there is not that control. I guess it is what India might look like, just far more rural. There is little development except along the riverside where it looks like Miami. this stretches for under a mile and for one street only. behind those streets, the reality is revealed. People wee in the streets, dogs roam freely, disabled roll around in makeshift wheelchairs, monks wander about with mobile phones, laptops etc. There is extreme wealth, a beautifully carved building with two great big expensive Lexus' outside, but next to it is a dingy shanty town with tens of people taking shelter from the heat or rain. The NGO's should be ashamed, this is where your money goes. Oxfam is just down the road,....beautiful building,cars, security gurads, but do they need it? I dont think so.

As I write this, it is 11pm my time and I am ready for bed. I am tired but can still hear the loud whines of the khmer men and women attempting to sing in the karaoke bar down the road. In true Knmer style, we (the volunteers) have decided to embrace this traditiona dn attend a karaoke bar where you get your own room to sing in on sunday. Monday will be followed by massages by the blind, trips to the wats and anything that can of beer cist 15p, a huge jug (massive pump thing - photos to follow) was $10. Living is cheap here, but tough. Life must be tough. Wires and cables hang from wooden sticks which are meant to be electricity pylons, drainage conists of open holes in the ground (which if you are not careful, you could fall down). The heat is immense and can take you by suprise. This morning I felt like I was going to pass out.

Still, with lots to do, see and experience in the next few days....I shall report with more exciting stories to tell.





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4th September 2011

Back To School
Hi Jess, I completely drifted off whilst reading your blogs to date and felt as though I was there! The atmosphere you create with your writing is fantastic.......no nonsence just straight from the heart and in plain English. I'm sure by now that you would have experienced a little home sickness but I think what you are doing is absolutely fantastic for you and for all the lucky people that you meet along the way! As the comment title says...it's back to school in the morning! I'm actually looking forward to it as my holiday has been a bit of a busman's holiday....looking after my kids while my wife, Nikki, worked extra hours in her new Beauty busines to take advantage of the holiday period. The weather here has been pants too! To add to my woes the forecast is for a windy week so you know only too well what that means for the kids at school....."off the wall" Gordon used to say with a deep uneasy inhale followed by an even more uneasy chesty cough! Bless him. Please continue blogging as I'm genuinely enjoying your adventure from afar......though the starring monks had me feeling a little spooked. Take good care of yourself, and I will make sure I send you the contact details of the Thai naval officer when that part of your adventure draws closer.......just in case you need a friendly face. By the way, the whole Brockhill website/email will probably be changing due to the Academy thing.....so no longer kent.sch.....blah blah...you probably know this already but hey! Have fun, don't work too hard. Carl x
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