Random Thoughts by Dave – Our Impact on Cambodia Ramblings
Jill and I were never under the illusion that we would be able to measure the impact from our three month stay in Cambodia. But with our volunteer stint ending today, I would have to say our impact has been felt far and wide.
A few weeks ago I wrote about how road construction in Cambodia picks up right before the election, however construction crews will only do one side of the road with the understanding that the other side will be done if you elect the current administration. So imagine my surprise when the construction trucks returned to my neighborhood last week and completed the road work even though the election is not until July. First of all, I owe the Cambodian government, or at least its roads division, an apology. Second, I think it’s quite obvious that the government is avidly reading (re: monitoring) the Do What You Want Trips blog and wanted to rub my face in some road tar.
But the government isn’t the only one paying attention to us. Check out this picture I took at the High Sky Disco Club in my neighborhood a few weeks ago. Two pitchers of Anchor beer for the unheard of price of $3.50.
Now, look at the picture of the High Sky Disco Club I took this week. No specials on pitchers!!!!
It was once again quite easy to see the impact I had on the basketball court after I ventured back to Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium last weekend. Though I was unable to understand the conversation after I arrived, I’m fairly sure two sides were fighting over which team would get me. I ended up on a team with three other women and I was quite impressed with their talent. They obviously had formal basketball training, more so than many of the other players on the court, and thus would typically be in the right places, making it quite easy for me to feed them with pinpoint passes for easy baskets. I believe our team lost once in six games. I will be missed.
We had a regular tuk tuk driver who took Jill to work every day and we also typically called him whenever we needed to go somewhere in Phnom Penh. We saw first-hand the impact that we had by giving him steady employment. Within the three months Rot had fixed the stereo on his tuk tuk, bought a new helmet, was sporting some pimping new shoes and was generally just a happier person. I wish him well in the future.
Sadly, this wine shop near my office, which was under construction when I first got here, will not be open before I leave. Had they only known the business they could have had if they had opened before we left I’m guessing they would have worked a little harder.
I have good news as well. My colleague Kim Samath just found out she was selected from 770 applicants to participate in a 22-month Masters Degree program in multi-media at University of Porto in Portugal beginning in September. I played a small role editing Samath’s essays so I’m particularly excited about this. Congratulations Samath! The best part is we’ll be in Portugal when she goes to school so we’ll get to see her again!