Jun 012008

I’m really enjoying it here in Cambodia. They’ve been pretty good about giving us the chance to acclimate to our new environment. We had a quick tour of the city by tuk-tuk, these motorcycle-drawn carriages, and we’ve been taking Khmer classes for an hour a day. Just can’t seem to get the hang of it … it’ll click one of these days.

The program with CWF is well structured and the staff is very supportive. Orientation has gone well, and they have provided information on how to stay safe & healthy out here. Nothing alarming, with the mosquitoes being my biggest concern. The food out here is decent, but the fruits are really interesting and yummy. I’ve probably had 4 fruits that I’ve never seen or tasted before, and look forward to enjoying others.

Living in Phnom Penh of course is urban. But a different kind of urban than the States. There are
tons of these little shops out here, and I can’t fathom how they all stay in business. You can find pretty much everything here you need, so you should be able to pack light (now I know for next time). The main challenge will be getting around the city to find what you are looking for. Sambo the Operations Manager, and Sopheap the Volunteer Coordinator can help with that.

There are 11 volunteers, most living in the volunteer house. Rooms are shared, but since there were openings I ended up with a single. The negative aspect is that it is one of the hotter rooms, and is poorly defended against mosquito attacks. I’ve tried to strengthen the defenses by using additional netting help up with tape, but that hasn’t worked to well (it keeps falling down). There is running water, but no hot water. Honestly, you don’t need hot water here. The showers help cool you down. I’m guessing the temps have been mainly in the 80s and humid. We had rain for the first time since my arrival last night. I was inside and avoided getting soaked. I’m sure my time will come.

Sunrise is around 5:30 am local time, but it gets dark fairly early (6:30 pm ish). Most people retire to their home by 8 pm, but the main late night-time activity, based on my walking around, seems to be karaoke. (Hearing Cambodian karaoke is quite the experience). We’re supposed to go as a group tonight. The local people are really friendly, and the other volunteers are saying Cambodia is the place to be based on their experiences.


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