Friday, 19 October 2012

In Phnom Penh

Unfortunately as readers will be aware our camera gear was all stolen so we' ll do our best to paint a picture with our prose.

We are currently in Phnom Penh, out networking with two wonderful groups doing some amazing work.  COLT,  who are working with Orphaned Children in urban Phnom Penh and CHOICE doing an equally great job with the poorest of the poor on the rural fringes of Phnom Penh.  Long term blog followers may remember that both these great organizations had been visited before.

We have also spent time at the Russian Market, so named as the market Russian ex-pats visited back in time when they were the quasi colonial power in the '80s. This market (or Phsar in Khmer) is a little different to the main market (Phsar Thmey) in Phnom Penh, full of food stuffs & tourist t-shirts but has some exquisite crafts & art work from local Cambodian artisans as well as the more ubiquitous food stuffs, t-shirts & bootlegged movies & software.


COLT work with orphans from Phnom Penh, unfortunately many orphanages in Cambodia have an unsavory reputation and are simply there as a money making concern,  complete with "rent-an-orphan", where unsuspecting barang (Khmer word for western foreigners) are milked for donations.  One of the great things about being on the ground is being able to do some due diligence on organisations and we are happy to say from everything we've seen, both these organisations are the real deal.

Photo of poster on the back of the door at the toilet of our guesthouse (taken with phone camera)

COLT have a large solar install underway, so I was keen to see that. The money raised for the project was from generous donors, mostly from Holland. Part of that is having electric scooters (or moto's as they're called locally) that can be charged from the solar system. When the install is complete it will provide them with an energy self sufficiency  that will be empowering and provide free power to the school and orphanage. We gave them a donation of $100 toward the Hand in Hand project.


It's hard to find the superlatives that describe the wonderful work these guys do.  They provide essential needs for five villages one hour from Phnom Penh. If you can picture the poorest & dispossessed who live under pieces of tin and old tarpaulins, no fresh water. These are the people they help with the simplest of necessities.  Choice provide fresh water every day, food drops once a week and clothing once a month. We purchased some rice, tinned fish for 200 people and gave them a small donation of $50.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Food drop and chicken in a pot

Food Parcel Drop

We did another food drop to the very poor on the outskirts of the village the other day. We'll let the photos speaks for themselves.  Some of you who receive this via email may need to come to the blog site to view the photo slideshow. Each month we spend $60 approx to purchase rice, sauces and tinned fish (good source of Niacin, Calcium, Protein and Vitamin D)

Food for us

Speaking of food we had a Khmer friend come over and show us how to cook something local.  The minimalism of the cooking facilities is offset by the ingenuity of using what they do have.  By this I mean they have no ovens etc and as this simplicity appeals we were interested to see how they cooked a chicken.  A pot of course !

Chicken in a pot
He laid some lemon grass at the bottom, put the entire chicken in the pot, some congealed chicken blood, the liquid from a freshly opened coconut (no need to get it out of a can here)

Fresh Coconut - they're full of juice

and in a nod to modernity sprinkled in some chicken stock.  Then put it on a high heat and boiled it for a couple hours. The chicken was superb I must say and interesting to see how it was cooked.

There is such a variety of foods to be tried here in Cambodia. Two that piqued my interest were BBQ frog and BBQ snake, you can get just about anything on a stick here including a snake.

Snake on a stick and BBQ frog