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Posted by on Nov 20, 2013

Ramblings by Dave: Update on Cambodia and A Few Tidbits on Life in Turkey

 

The key mission of our volunteer organizations in Cambodia was to empower people to better understand their human and democratic rights and to advocate for themselves and their communities. Their efforts appear to be gaining traction. From the July elections when the opposition party won more seats than expected (and continued protests that the ruling party actually won the election) to protests last week by garment workers over working conditions in their factories (which supply clothes for both Gap and H&M) change is happening in Cambodia. We were in Cambodia at an interesting time with things brewing, but missed out on the latest developments. While the citizens appear to be going about things to elicit change in the right way I have a feeling the government won’t be inclined to relinquish power without some kind of fight.

Kids books and cartoons often show the idyllic life of living on a farm, with the rooster crowing around 6:30 a.m. as the sun comes up and people peacefully waking up. I’m here to tell you that’s all a lie. We’ve stayed at a few places where they have roosters or families had them nearby and I can say for a fact that they crow around the clock — I’m not even sure when or if they sleep. Apparently they’re marking their territory or to call the hens or just because another rooster crows, if you can believe what you read on the Internet.

Just a few of the thousand chickens living in the town of Cirali, Turkey.

Just a few of the thousand chickens living in the town of Cirali, Turkey.

I know a lot of people are worried about how tobacco companies are going to survive amidst the multi-billion dollar judgments handed down against them, ever-increasing taxes placed on cigarettes and smoking laws that make it tougher to light up. But fear not, Europe is picking up the slack. In Turkey, where we are now, people smoke everywhere and constantly. I don’t envision this changing anytime soon, but also didn’t think the anti-smoking movement in the U.S. would be as strong as it is today.

Just a few packs of cigarettes at a road side restaurant in Turkey.

Just a few packs of cigarettes at a road side restaurant in Turkey.

From traveling around a good portion of Turkey over the past 10 days I would say more houses and buildings than not have solar panels on their roofs. Makes sense when you consider all of the sunlight this country gets. I believe most of the solar panels are to heat up water for baths and showers.

Even the boats in Turkey have solar panels.

Even the boats in Turkey have solar panels.

Turkish people aren’t so good with garbage. They throw trash everywhere, including their beautiful beaches. I think the turning point in the U.S. for trash came in the 70s and that commercial with the American Indian crying when people threw trash at his feet as part of the Keep America Beautiful campaign. Whoever started that needs to take the message to other countries. Sometimes it’s as simple as just having garbage receptacles for people to use. Despite all of its hustle and bustle, Istanbul wasn’t terribly dirty in part because they have garbage bags everywhere.

Trash, most plastic bottles, lining the hillside near the beautiful waters of Fethiye, Turkey. Such a shame.

Trash, most plastic bottles, lining the hillside near the beautiful waters of Fethiye, Turkey. Such a shame.

Missed a recent ramblings? You can find them all here.