Blogs from Cambodia, Asia - page 4


Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 23rd 2019

We had finished a village delivery surprisingly quick because several filters were given to the same family who lived close to each other. We were on our way back to Siem Reap excited to grab lunch and be out of the hottest part of the day. Three of us were in the back of the truck and two in the cab. Heng is a very considerate driver to those in the back and will slow down if pot holes are unavoidable, but like most drivers, will use the shoulder or opposite lane to avoid them all together. One pot hole was the entire lane so he moved over but during that moment another car tried to pass and Heng had to swerve to avoid hitting him. The crash was averted and we were on our way. ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 22nd 2019

Who knew rats...giant rats would be so helpful? Today we visited APOPO, an NGO specializing in the removal of landmines and live bombs/amunitions through the use of Giant African rats. The exhibit and demonstration were brief, but very interesting. During the civil war and Vietnamese invasion, landmines were a weapon of choice. The problem is after a war when the tanks and guns are done firing, the landmines still exist. The exact location of most mines are forgotten. Another problem is safe removal cost. The cost of the landmine was less than $10 but finding and safely disarming it now costs over $300. Considering there is an estimated 4 to 6 million landmines and other unexploded ordiances in Cambodia and Cambodia has the highest rate of disability inflicted from landmines (4 every week since 1979), the ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 21st 2019

Cambodis has become known for a period in their history when the Khmer Rouge ran the country. During this 3 year 8 month and 20 some odd days, one fifth to 1 fourth of their population was killed and many others fled the country. The goal of this period was to create a super communist nation as quickly as possible surpassing China, Vietnam and the Soviet Union. In order to do this, the leaders to extreme measures evacuating all large cities and forcing people back into the country side to farm and work on national projects, they eliminated national currency (literally blew up banks in the city) and outlawed trade between citizens, made all property (with the exception of a bowl and spoon) government issued or government property, split families apart and forced arranged marriages, and ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor January 20th 2019

Our first round of extended volunteers left this week. I was only given the opportunity to get to know them for a week, but like college or a job enviroment, people tend to get closer faster when they live together or share extreme/challenging circumstances (watch Speed if you don’t believe me). It has been interesting to watch people process through going home (back the the US and Great Britain) after volunteering or exposing themselves to a new culture and poverty for the first time. Alden was the first to leave. He finished college and is unsure of his next step. So much of his processing is around excess back home and enjoying small things that get thrown to the side when you get in the rush of life. He is convinced he wants to go home, ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 19th 2019

Bike rentals and a map and off we go to explore the temples of Angkor. The goals today were to buy our passes, make it to Ta Prohm, Bayon and Angkor Wat, and back to Siem Reap before nightfall. Today, I am happy to say that we asked for directions at all the right times, trusted people instead of what the internet told us, and had some shear good luck: we did all things without getting lost. We even got to add in Srah Srang water reserve, Chrung Palace, and the Elephant Terrace. Cambodia receives 90% of its rainfall in 6 months of the year. This made agriculture during the dry months nearly impossible. What made the Angkor region successful was its ability to master the water. They built huge reservoirs (like 7 kilometers by 4 ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 18th 2019

The war museum occupies a large area encircled by a fence giving it the feel of an isolated time. A guide is provided and all experienced some portion of the Cambodian civil war, Khmer Rouge, or the takeover of Cambodia by the Vietnam forces. The museum contains tanks, landmines, guns, and helicoptors as well as a written presentation the 30 year time period (1960 to 1991). Our guide was a child soldier during the Khmer Rouge period and fought against the Vietnam invasion. He recently had been written about in a book and been given the name the cat becabuse of the number of times he evaded death. As a young child, he left home one morning to run an errand, upon his return he found his entire family had been killed by the Khmer Rouge. ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 17th 2019

Delivery days include loading up 7 bags of washed sand, 1 bag of washed gravel, 1 bag of washed pebbles into the truck, and 7 filters in to the back of a truck. All are heavy enough to require a team lift so my muy, pii, bey (1, 2, 3) in Khmer is now very proficient. We then fight over who gets to sit in the back and bet on if we are stopping for bagged ice coffee. Heng is always the driver. His control of a manual is INSANE. He drives through and 90 degree backs into things I don't even think a motorcycle should fit through let alone a large truck. Today's delivery was to a new village. This one seemed to be more "wealthy" than the previous two delivery days. I have not ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 16th 2019

Another delivery day. It amazes me how during the week, I thought we had done a good job filling up the holding containers with clean sand, pebbles and gravel only to have them emptied between us and the drill team. It was a comparable feeling to how I feel about laundry, dishes and showering...they always need to be done again even immediately after you finished them. The deliveries themselves were pretty straight forward, I did get a promotion to being allowed to help lower the filters out of the truck. As Shelby's dad would say..."we're so fit!" I also came more prepared with a neck gator to pull up over my face while we are in the truck to block out the passing car fumes and the dust from the dirt roads. The highlight of today ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 15th 2019

So Shelby and I decided despite the fact that eating out can be fairly cheap here and the street food is delicious, we needed a different option. We committed to the creation of a hotel home and have hung up art work and decorated our room. This week the newest addition to this home is a rice cooker! So far our rice cooker creations have been: Rice and pineapple beef Rice and chicken with steamed veggies Yellow chicken curry BBQ pork steak with veggies and rice FUNFETTI cake (x2 because the first cake we brought to work for Den was given away to a family during deliveries so a second was needed) The woman at the small corner store who does our laundry was so funny when we came in to buy coconut milk for the ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North January 14th 2019

Starting week two at Trailblazers Foundation. Here are some cool things about this foundation: They are one of the few NGOs invited to a government meeting each year to determine who will be responsible for helping meet the request needs of each village in the country. Individuals sit in the room and each village lists of requests are put on the wall and each group signs up to fulfill these needs. The organization was started by two Americans, but now is run by 12 Khmer natives. The founders and board are in charge of raising funds while the 12 employees are in charge of being the boots on the ground. Trailblazers builds and installs water filters, digs wells (most are 25 to 40 meters deep), funds the construction of school (including toilets, classrooms, fences), and developing ... read more

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