My Weekend in Kratie and Day with Cambodian Rural Development Team

Traveling by land, exploring the outskirts of Phnom Penh, 7 hours later I arrive in Kratie Province.  Last weekend, I explored a northern province of Cambodia and visited Cambodian Rural Development Team’s GlobalGiving Project to Provide renewable energy to 15 families in a rural village on Koh Pdao Island separated not only by income but also by rivers from society and the main markets.

Finally, Monday arrived and I was able to visit Cambodian Rural Development Team’s project…

My day began meeting Mr. Bin Dim, the project manager, in Sambor province and off we were to board a ferry to Koh Pdao Island. The villages that we were off to visit are on an island and the main source of income included the selling of animals and agriculture. When we arrived, the area was hot and dry. Cows and water buffalo roamed free and the pace of life was definitely a lot slower than just across the river. We arrived at the first beneficiary family’s home. It consisted of a widow and her 6 family members. 

One of the daughters welcomed us into their home, immediately recognizing and so happy to see Bin. Bin showed me the outside biodigester that they installed on behalf of the funding raised via GlobalGiving. This was one of 15 families that received them.  Then the daughter and Bin proceeded to show me how it worked and she explained how she used it.  I then asked her what she used before this gas resource – and she said batteries. Before, the family had to take the batteries into town across the river to pay to recharge them constantly. Also the family used wood to cook so had to go chop trees in the forest, using valuable time they could be spending on farming and helping out in community.  Cooking with wood also created a lot of smoke making the place dirty, she said. I also immediately thought that it probably was not good for their health either. Finally I asked her how the gas has benefited her family, and she replied that now when she needs to boil water or cook dinner all she needs to do is turn on the gas light the pilot and put the water or food on. It is so easy and now they have time to focus on work [income generating activities].

We went on to visit many other families all with the same explanations of how much the gas system has made things easier. I asked where they get the manure though if they don’t raise cattle or pigs, and they responded that they are able to collect extra from neighbors.  These communities I found out are extremely communal. They even decide what each family will grow or make based on the needs of the village during community meetings.  This is how CRDT works within the communities – speaking with the village leaders and villagers identifying needs and obstacles to their ability to focus on activities that will support income and raise the standard of living.

One other need CRDT recognized was for sanitation –due to no running water and electricity, organizations along with CRDT such as Oxfam have stepped in to provide fishing ponds, toilets, hygiene and health awareness campaigns and trainings, animal husbandry trainings, incinerators to get rid of “rubbish”, environmental education programs, and now looking into irrigation. Also, CRDT has started an ecotourism project that brings tourists to spend a few days within the village working and living alongside families in homestays. This is to promote income for the villages as well as cultural learning for both sides.

About the Biodigesters:

Who gets these biodigesters?  A lottery system was put into place to determine who in the villages received the first batch of biodigesters. One widow exclaimed after being chosen that she was “very lucky.”

How do they work? Biodigesters take manure and turn it into natural gas that can be used for cooking and electricity.

Why is this important? Families can spend less time destroying the local forest, and injuring their health inhaling smoke while cooking. Children can study at night due to electric lights from the gas system; the source of energy comes right from their own animals that they raise and use for food, income, and transportation.  The day and productivity no longer ends when the sun goes down and they have run out of batteries or candles. Time spent waiting for food to cook over wood fires is now spent doing other productive activities.

At the end, Bin Dim and I sat down to have a home cooked lunch of fried fish, banana chips, rice, and noodles with egg and vegetables. An older woman and husband in one of the homestay locations hosted us. They both had many questions for me such as where I come from, what life is like there, if people in US move out at 18 and are independent generally in adulthood… then who decides what your career is and decision making when get married? You decide for yourself I replied. And they were pleasantly surprised. Many other questions went on including how old are was I, and if I knew anyone in Georgia. They did not know Texas  – but Georgia they knew because they had heard of Cambodian families moving there. Finally, they wanted to know about the 9/11 disaster, terrorism, why USA was attacked, and then finally wanted to show me all of the gifts they received from their many international visitors – gifts from Australia and even… Idaho!

Before I left the husband stopped me to say – thank you. Thank you for supporting CRDT so that they can help the villages.

What can I do for you? A story of Friends…International

This story is not about what you should do or what is best – this is about what can I do for you? That is how Friends International began. It began by asking, “what can I do for you? What do you need?” On 22 of February 2012 I was able to meet with staff from Friends International, recently voted Top 100 NGO in 2012 by Global Journal, as well as experience their work, “help out” in it, and live the impact. James and Charlotte welcomed me into their head office to share a bit about their backgrounds, the projects, and the impact.

Part I – Beginnings

Almost 15 years ago when Cambodia was opening up post Khmer Rouge, Sebastian, the Executive Director, was traversing through Cambodia on his way to Japan. While resting he noticed truck after truck of NGO and Aid vehicles passing by. But beyond the image of these, in the distance along the river, were homeless and suffering Cambodians and youth laying along the riverside. The amount of aid pouring into the country since it opened was enormous – but why were there so many homelss and impoverished youth untouched and unaffected, Sebastian thought.

Sebastian decided to start speaking to them about their stories asking them what they needed. The number of education facilities and orphanages were skyrocketing, but the surprising answer from these youth were not to go to school or for a bed –  they wanted work to support themselves and families.

Part II – An answer to the calling: 4 Friends Programs

Yes, educational opportunities exist (for those under 15 if they wish). Outreach teams go out to street kids, ask what they need, build relationships, and encourage the value of education.  The participants are never forced but supported to make the decision on their own, but the demand was for opportunities to gain skills for jobs, and so was born the (1)Friends Programs providing vocational skills training, (2) Friends Social Businesses to support the trainings and provide real world application, (3) CYTI Alliance, a coalition of best-practices and lessons learned to collaborate and involve NGO’s in supporting marginalized communities, and finally the (4)Childsafe Network to spread advocacy and include the community in child-safe tourism and business practices. This includes the “Thumbs Up” logo that is featured everywhere from tuktuks, to hotels, police, and even airlines (coming soon).

The Friends Educational and Training Center 

Part III – Experiencing the Vocational Programs

It is one thing to hear about and read about programs, but it is another to experience it first hand. After the meeting, off I went to track down the social businesses and trainings, speak with the beneficiaries, and observe how well their hospitality program REALLY was. I was able to find 2 restaurants, which has now separated to be its own entity (Mith Samlanh) as well as the stores selling the beneficiaries’ products, and a beauty training salon.

Mith Samlanh – Romdeng Restaurant – Social Business and Vocational Training
Romdeng Friends International Product Store – featuring items made by beneficiaries

Vocational Training – Nail and Beauty Salon

Finally, I decided to sit down, relax, and try out the training program of Friends Restaurant. First thing I did was ask a “Teacher” and staff how it worked from their  perspective – and the trainer was VERY well versed. He knew all of the details of the levels of the hospitality program. This trainer was actualy from the local university there to support the program. Another staff with little anglais did not want me to go empty handed even though he could not answer my questions (language barrier) so he brought me a ChildSafe Traverler Tips brochure (in Khmer). It was thoughtful and sincere. Every member of the staff were sincere, focused, and in a state of learning – the highest state I would say to be in life.

The Training Process:
Step 1: preparing food for chilfren in schools (4months training)
Step 2: Training in serving and hospitalitiy in Cambodian restaurants (for locals) (about 10 mths)
Step 3: Move to training/working in Friends-Mith Samlanh Center

And voila… there I was about to sample the cooking and services of Friends International trainees…

Menu, staff, and trainee board (in background) at Friends Restaurant

Getting work done at Friends Restaurant while having a non-alcoholic Passion Fruit chiller, reading the ChildSafe pamphlet, and about to taste the  tuna and egg salad (YUM)

Part IV: Creating Advocates

At the end, I was sold. Not only did I buy gifts and a Friends trainee-created notebook for myself, but I had lunch at the restaurant and visited their training salon. Yes, Charlotte and James were fantastic pitchers of their program. But beyond that (and I am not saying I am a hardened jaded global development specialist)… it takes a lot to get me to buy in. And there need not be any pitching necessary – because the products were quality, they were items I wanted to buy for myself (but I couldn’t be selfish…so I’ll call them gifts and figure out who they’re for later), the food was delicious, and I had better service than at the more expensive restaurants of Phnom Penh.

When I asked James how he would describe the FRIENDSISH image,  he said it is about fun, smiling, and bringing those back into the community from the margins. It is about collaboration (see previous post), and being young at heart. When you learn you feel young again, and being young is not about age.. it is about a state of mind. That is how he viewed friends… and that’s how I experienced it.

For more information: Friends-International

Jacqueline
GlobalGiving InTheField Traveler | Texas

Jacqueline is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving and is now making her way across Southeast Asia. Jacqueline has lived all around the U.S., Central America, backpacked along Australia’s eastern coast while volunteering for the National Park Service, western Europe, and traveled around the world. You can also follow her via Twitter.

For more information about GlobalGiving, click here





Collaboration – inspired by my site visit with Chab Dai

This post is a post about Collaboration. What does it mean to you? What actions are undertaken in collaboration? Why is it important? Think about this before reading on…

On February 23 I was able to meet with an organization that is changing the way organizations, communities, governments, and well I guess the world communicates and understands – Collaboration. Through creating and compiling best practices for coalitions in Human Trafficking and Human Rights, Chab Dai Cambodia is from the “bottom up” being requested to share how they work, their lessons, and how-to’s of creating an effective and COLLABORATIVE coalition for effectively and efficiently impacting communities through prevention and trafficked victims rescue and care.

What do I mean? Chab Dai has spread FROM Cambodia to the USA and Canada, as well as is now working with organizations all over the world.

What do they provide? (Among the many change-agent projects and programs for anti-trafficking and human rights issues) Toolkits for organizations including self-assessments, best practices, a network of shared resources, and membership of charter-signed members commited to ethics and impact.

What is wonderful is this is a CHANGE in the global development community mindset – no longer is it what the “developed/first world” countries and people have to teach and offer “lesser developed/developing nations” it is what these nations, communities, and local organizations can now teach US.  It only makes sense that since Cambodia has been dealing with the sex-slave trade intensely and for  quite some time.. now that awareness is increasing in the United States (and other “developed” nations) about human-trafficking that happens in our OWN borders, we can learn and adopt what is ALREADY working – not stumble through a million lessons that have already failed, tackled, and improved upon.

I was explained by Tania, the International Communications Director, that what people, even academics, claim to understand about collaboration usually includes the surface, material, and financial. Maybe even, “well ya I attended once this forum on XYZ, so now I am collaborating with the hosting organization.” This is not the case – and is not what really matters. Chab Dai is spearheading the true meaning and impact that the word Collaboration has the power to create.

Now this post does not even dip its toe into the ecosystem of projects, programs, and networks that Chab Dai is creating for human rights, but since you have the power to explore their site yourself, I am focusing on the issues that are very close to my heart. Sustainability, working together, and development for humanity.

(I know this is a very wordy and long post)

If you’d like to read on…

Religion has the power to separate and unite but it can also open up for Collaboration: Before my site visit with Chab Dai, a flag initially raised when I found out they were a faith-based coalition, but I found out they strictly do not prostheletize or discriminate against religion. Chab Dai formed because in the beginning, no one was working together, wasting resources, and doing the same work but in repetition. Helen (International Director) recognized everything could be more effective and efficient if organizations worked together. The government and UN agencies thought the Christian orgs were just prostheletizing and the Christian orgs felt persecuted. So Chab Dai was created to join organizations that have at least a common foundation so that they can all start from and build upon a foundation of trust, and through doing this identify development gaps, repetition in programs, and eventually to work with trust and understanding the government and secular orgs (and vice versa) synchronistically and collaboratively instead of all against each other – creating trust and Collaboration.

A Metaphor of good conquering evil: before Chab Dai moved to its new location, the building was used by a “Recruiting Agency” to “domestic train” women and send as “House Helpers” to various areas throughout Southeast Asia. The barbed wire along the outer gate was used to keep women in…not keep thieves out. Now Chab Dai, a force for protecting humanity from human trafficking and the sex trade, has taken over the location – a great metaphor of their impact to tackling human rights perpetrators.

If you are interested in learning more about Chab Dai: Click here.

Jacqueline
GlobalGiving InTheField Traveler | Texas

Jacqueline is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving and is now making her way across Southeast Asia. Jacqueline has lived all around the U.S., Central America, backpacked along Australia’s eastern coast while volunteering for the National Park Service, western Europe, and traveled around the world. You can also follow her via Twitter.

For more information about GlobalGiving, click here

Breaking the cycle of poverty and preserving Cambodian arts -My day with Kasumisou Foundation

My day began bright and early with Juana – from Peru she is the local staff for the Family Support Program, Kasumisou Foundation. On 20 February 2012, over a breakfast of fruit, we discussed  a brief overview of her work and the day’s itinerary. I would be visiting several families benefitting from Kasumisou’s FSP program (those affected by HIV) and then visiting the Apsara Arts Prgoram where youth and orphans can learn traditional Cambodian dance, drawing, and music while not in school and during summers (instead of being on the streets).

The first family lived in a Buddhist Temple Pagoda that looked like this….

After the PolPot regime (Khmer Rouge) Buddhist temples began to welcome Cambodians without homes re-settling back into the city after being scattered among different provinces looking for their lost loved ones and for places to live. (Please Google the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge if you are not familiar.. I was able to visit the “Killing Fields” and the Tuol Sleng Museum, and will share photos in a later posting).

The first family consisted of a young boy, Pirron, affected by HIV and his grandmother who took care of him after his mother passed away due to the virus.  I asked her what her life was like before she was taken in by the Kasumisou foundation – she had been a beggar. Homeless and penniless she took in her grandson after his mother passed and was desperate because he was dying. At a local church they were introduced to Juana and  the Kasumisou foundation, and they were given a small stipend to pay for rent, for food, and education for the young boy. The conditions were she had to stop begging. When I met this family I would have NEVER imagine what they had gone through. She was proud of her grandson’s studies, smiling, and welcoming. I asked what hope she had for her grandson in the future, and she said for him to finish his studies and become a professional. He responded he hoped the same and loved working with electronics and electricity. His favorite subject was math. She now has a home, electricity (no running water yet), and with therapy the boy has lived to the age of 15. She now sells snacks and candy to the local community.

With Pirron, his grandmother, and FSP staff at their home

Now meet these two young girls who not only lost their mother due to HIV but have been constantly affected by it, and were adopted by their mother’s friend. One wanted to be a doctor “to help (listing everyone in her adopted family, the Kasumisou staff, and sponsorship family who is paying for her education) for free of charge” and the younger one followed with wanting to be a nurse “to help all of Cambodia”. One loved to read and the other draw. Her favorite thing to draw was.. Angry Birds! I was astonished and had to see her drawings- they were amazing. I told them how kids in the US also loved Angry Birds! At the end of the visit she gave me her prized angry bird and tom and jerry drawings. They practiced their english with me and showed me some of the dance and song they learned at the Apsara Arts program. These were two sweet and educated young girls with hopes and dreams. I asked Juana what was the likelihood of them receiving education to become doctors.. and she said the hope of Cambodia is for youth to graduate 6th grade, if possible 9th (14 years old). If they are very talented and have the funding then 12th. It is very difficult to attain vocational or university training here. That did not stop these girls from reaching for the stars.

Holding Smile’s Angry Birds Drawings

The final few families ingrained in me the strength of the human spirit. Sampao had been ostracized by her family when her husband died since she had HIV and was separated from her children. She was on her deathbed when Kasumso took her in and instead of accompanying her to die with dignity.. Juana was able to “accompany her to life”. When she never expected to live she now accompanies Juana home-visiting other families affected sharing experience and support. The next family was a mother and son both affected – all you could see was their joy and strength. The mother was able to work since she received therapy and he was a very naturally gifted artist – self taught drawing and painting with beautiful elaborate pictures of whatever he could get his hands on.  The final family’s mother had been blinded by the disease and was supporting her 2 young boys. Kasumisou provided her the opportunity to not have to turn to brothels to make money, but supporting her children through school and allowing her to focus on them.

Sharing fruit with mother and son during home-visit

How does it work? Kasumisou is no longer expanding but maintaining the current families. They support 110 orphans, 70 Family Support Prgoram families with 180 children,  4 in university and 3 in vocational school, and 9 orphans iving at the Apsara Arts Progaram. They provide food support, small stipend for rent/electricity/water, education, therapy whether it be for TB or HIV, and homevisit care- a holistic all-econompassing type of support to  break the cycle of poverty and provide opportunities for these youth otherwise without. The kids stay in the program for as long as they need. With hopes of focusing more on education for their children, their donor-focused funding is trying to find a way to become more sustainable.

The final leg of my site visit involved attending clases at the Apsara Arts Association.. a program for training youth whether oprpahned, poor or rich in traditional Cambodian culture. Kasumisou funds a summer program to allow their beneficiary children to spend their summers not in school learning Cambodian arts and not spend it in the streets. Kasumisou also donated the current training center.


Teaching Assistants performing (right is female dance and left is the male dance)


Please observe the 2nd child… the cutest 3 year old you have ever met

And I even was able to participate… I was dragged on stage even though I repeatedly oh-koon’d (thanked ) and declined but to no avail up I went…and then was guided with clear English 1,2,3’s throughout the entire dance…

Me attempting Cambodian Dance

It was wonderful to experience how those involved did not differentiate by age, race, or religion (some beneficiaries were Buddhist, some Christian, some “attended all temples to receive support and live long lives”) – it was about providing lives with dignity and breaking the cycles of poverty for future Cambodan generations. Although it is frustrating to see the common trend of constant dependency on dwindling donor support.. my hopes are that organizations find self-sustainability. Hopefully, these children will have the opportunity to attain all of their hopes and dreams… and even finish university.

About the staff I met: Juana’s background was in HIV family support in the US and for over a decade here. Sithen’s background is in accounting and business management supporting Kasumisou’s efforts with the Apsara Arts. Slim staff – but skilled, experienced, and dedicated. Sithen even went on to say if he ever has to take another job for some reason he would always be a supporter of and donate to Kasumisou.

To find out more about about Kasumisou Foundation click here. For more information on the Apsara Arts Association click here. The Apsara Arts Association hosts Traditional Cambodian performances on Saturday evenings.

 

Jacqueline
GlobalGiving InTheField Traveler | Texas

Jacqueline is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving and is now making her way across Southeast Asia. Jacqueline has lived all around the U.S., Central America, backpacked along Australia’s eastern coast while volunteering for the National Park Service, western Europe, and traveled around the world. You can also follow her via Twitter.

For more information about GlobalGiving, click here

My day with Happy Football Cambodia Australia – Homeless World Cup Participants

On Saturday morning, 18 January 2012, I was able to join the Happy Football Cambodia Australia (HFCA) for one of their first soccer (football) trainings of the season with Jimmy, Head Coach, Vibol, Country Manager, and Chandara, Coach and Assistant Country Manager. After surmounting a few obstacles to secure a field, including field repairs and a surprise out-of-season rainy downpour the day before, the program pressed on and the season began. HFCA’s team of Cambodian impoverished and orphan youth were able to attend and play in the Homeless World Cup Paris on the Champ de Mars in August 2011. I was able to spend a day with them getting to know some of the youth that went and observing the work of HFCA.

When I arrived, the youth were divided into 4 groups: 16 and up, 14-16, under 14, and the girls. This is because 16 years old is required in order to qualify and play in the Homeless World Cup. The program consists of fitness, basic soccer skills training, scrimmage, and fun. Despite the fact that some of the kids did not have proper soccer gear or even shoes to run in, they were all laughing and running – as if they had no problems or concerns in the world.

Part of the fitness and agility program

The youth come from 5 different orphanages with one driving over 3 hours just to bring their youth to this program on the weekends. Why do they do this? I was told because it is for the kids – it provides opportunity, confidence, and to spend their free time not in the streets but learning a sport and teamwork.

During this time I was able to speak with 2 youth that were able to attend the Homeless World Cup in Paris, and one that went to HWC Melbourne.  What was interesting was that not one spoke about future success and opportunity – they all spoke about how happy they were to meet and play with players from other countries and that the most important thing was to bring their experience back to Cambodians. Here is a clip…

It was inspirational to find out that Vibol, as Country Director and volunteer for HFCA, came from humble beginnings as well – and that’s what brought him to support these youth.  The stories of what motivated everyone to be a part of HFCA was definitely uplifting, and whether it be to share “football” with the kids or stop the cycles of poverty… everyone shared a common goal – to provide opportunity for these kids.

How do they get to go to the Homeless World Cup? HWC subsidized a major portion of the travel costs. HFCA brought 1 player from each orphanage/organization plus the top 3 deserving youth…and off they went. But “it’s not all about the Homeless World Cup, this [the program providing opportunities for these youth] is what’s important. The Homeless World Cup is just icing on the cake,” said the Head Coach, Jimmy.

I spoke with a representative from one of the orphanages (the one that drives so far just to be there). His name was Sokhom and he was with the Cambodia Kids Foundation. He said he was “happy because kids can learn football. It keeps kids from selling things at market”. He also said that 3 of his organization’s youth were able to attend the Homeless World Cups and that they were very happy.

Very happy was a common phrase that day.

The girls’ team: one ran up to me, said hello, asked my name, and proudly proclaimed she wanted to play football when she grew up. Then ran off to play again. They were all full of  laughter and joy.

The Obstacle: Organizations want to send more kids but costs and resources are limited. The HFCA is fighting for self-sustainability, but currently runs on donors, charity-tournaments, and fundraising events. The program can only take care of a certain number of kids and only on Saturday mornings as of now, but the demand for a Sunday program and more kids to participate is growing. The current soccer gear all currently comes from the little budget they have as well as a monthly pick up of donated supplies from local Phnom Penh International Schools.

The next Homeless World Cup 2012 will be in Mexico City. For more information on Homeless World Cup, click here, and on Happy Football Cambodia Australia, click here.

Jacqueline
GlobalGiving InTheField Traveler | Texas

Jacqueline is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving and is now making her way across Southeast Asia. Jacqueline has lived all around the U.S., Central America, backpacked along Australia’s eastern coast while volunteering for the National Park Service, western Europe, and traveled around the world. You can also follow her via Twitter.

For more information about GlobalGiving, click here


Getting to know Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Getting to know Phnom Penh has been an uplifiting, exciting, and adventurous few days…

A sweet-smelling flower arrangement from the National Museum

While settling into the country I have discovered 1 very important lesson: A smile goes a long way.  When I go around trying to blend in/big city style where smiling is NOT a way to blend in… I rarely received any help… but when I reverted back to my old southern ways and started smiling, everyone was more than obliged to lend a helping hand despite the language and cultural barrier. Toto… we are not in New York anymore.

Secondly: When walking across the street, no matter how hectic, lack of law, or traffic coming at you… DO NOT RUN. I found out from a local expat that locals have learned to navigate around pedestrians no matter how fast they are coming at you… and running will throw all of the “order” into chaos. (I hope to post some videos of this later).

Third: Social Enterprises are not a new concept here… there are many and thriving. One specific place (which I will share pictures)is a cafe that benefits a local non-profit providing training for those in poverty.

Now for what I have discovered thus far…

If you have EVER lost ANYTHING in your life… here is where it ended up  - the winding aisles of the Orussey Market. Also I would like to mention that you will be the ONLY foreigner wandering around the endless number of stalls. And you will be stared at. But like I said… a smile and kindness go a long way here.

This is the typical stance of resting TukTuk drivers…minus the bellybutton out. Apparently an exposed bellybutton has to do with balancing Chi.

 

At the gorgeous National Museum- unfortunately pictures were not allowed inside so the courtyard will have to do

 

Where to go to get a great meal while supporting a local organization – Le Cafe du Centre, one of the few training restaurants for Friends NGO

Until next time… Once I figure out how to post videos… and after my first project visit tomorrow morning!

Jacqueline
GlobalGiving InTheField Traveler | Texas

Jacqueline is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving and is now making her way across Southeast Asia. Jacqueline has lived all around the U.S., Central America, backpacked along Australia’s eastern coast while volunteering for the National Park Service, western Europe, and traveled around the world. You can also follow her via Twitter.

For more information about GlobalGiving, click here

Farewell America… Hello Southeast Asia

Welcome and Ohko-oon (thank you in Khmer) for visiting my first posting…

It’s hard to believe that I hopped on a plane to fly across the ocean…traveled for 30 hours…  only to go to sleep in winter chill and wake up in the stifling heat and humidity of the tropical southeast – Cambodia.  It’s even harder to believe that I will spend the next 6 months traveling around 9 countries meeting incredible people who are making life-changing impacts in their communities whether it be protecting wildlife, providing education, or removing landmines. This blog serves to document my adventure.

The trip began with this…

Departure from DC Airport…

Spent like this in layovers…
Lounge in Taipei (note the LonelyPlanet SE Asia on a shoestring ‘bible’)

Flying over this…

Cambodian mountains

Followed by myself and 3 mosquitos (known as mUs here) hopping in a cab to here…

 And my frist meal kinda looked like this…

only kidding! It was more like this…

Stewed meat with a side of rice and a bottle of fresh pineapple juice at the local Mama’s Restaurant

The first three ESSENTIAL purchases included: Sim card, mosquito repellant, and a small mosquito net. Thank goodness mosquitoes do not have color preferences because my giant PINK net (pictures coming soon) that the storefront insisted upon (out of any color in the world) looks like a giant beacon signaling “fresh meat 0- come-and-get-it 1 time only foreign blood for all you mUs (mosquitoes)!”

My first site visit on behalf of GG comes this Saturday but until then I will be posting my adventure the next 6 months, immersing myself in the culture, and visiting many non-profit and ngo projects to show you what really is happening on the ground– about Jacqueline in the field.

Jacqueline
GlobalGiving InTheField Traveler | Texas

Jacqueline is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving and is now making her way across Southeast Asia. Jacqueline has lived all around the U.S., Central America, backpacked along Australia’s eastern coast while volunteering for the National Park Service, western Europe, and traveled around the world. You can also follow her via Twitter.

For more information about GlobalGiving, click here