Life in the village vs. the city

Cambodia, RTW: 2007-2008, Southeast Asia — By on August 14, 2008 11:30 PM


After spending a few days in Siem Reap, we took a six hour bus ride to the Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. The bus stopped a few times along the way so we could stretch our legs and get food. At one stop there was a large variety of cooked bugs and giant spiders for sale! Little girls were eager to sell you both the live spiders they held in one hand and the bags of pineapples they held in the other. I decided to pass on both and was glad we had planned ahead and bought sandwiches in Siem Reap to eat for lunch!

The little girl in the picture to the left threatened to put this large spider on me!

Cooked spiders for sale…

Cooked bugs for sale…


Nicole and I went to work with her friend Erin one day. Erin lives and works in a small village about 45 minutes outside of Phnom Penh. Erin has been working in Cambodia at RDI (Resource Development International); however, she is employed by the University of North Carolina. She is running a lab that is testing the quality of water in Cambodia and installing water filter systems in local homes. Nicole and I went on a tour of the RDI complex and learned about the process involved in creating the water filter systems.

Kaleb from Kentucky giving the tour of RDI…

Clay pots used as filters…

Making of the pots…

The lab…
I was impressed by the work Erin does in Cambodia as well as the fact that she has lived in a converted shipping container (without AC or hot water) in the small village for the past seven months! She is HARD CORE!! Cambodia seems to have the hottest temperatures of the other countries I have visitied in Southeast Asia so far.

Erin’s “bungalow”…

The village…
RDI – Cambodia is a U.S. registered, private, non-profit organization working internationally. The company employs local Cambodians as well as people from all over the world. RDI is currently sponsoring a variety of other projects besides water treatment. There are many people using RDI’s facilities that are hired by other companies internationally. RDI is helping to educate Cambodian kids through puppet shows that they film in a studio in the village. The shows have been well received and our being broadcast all over Cambodia. The shows teach children about water safety, germs, nutrition and hygiene. Nicole and I watched a few episodes.

After our day at RDI I headed back to find a guest house in Phnom Phen and Nicole spent the night in the shipping container. It was going to be too tight squeeze for all three of us! Traffic is CRAZY in Phnom Phen. There are so many cars and motorbikes (driven without helmets) and hardly any stoplights. Crosswalks apparently mean nothing to drivers and you have to run between traffic to cross the roads. While riding in a tuk tuk through the city to a guest house I witnessed a crash of three motorbikes in which all of the drivers where flung from their bikes and none of them had on helmets! It is cheaper to get a ride on a moto than a tuk tuk, but there is no way I would ride on the back of one with all the crazy drivers and traffic in the city!

We had a fun night out in Phnom Phen with Erin and her coworkers at the FCC (Foreign Correspondence Club).

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