Sunday, October 30, 2011

Drying up and drying out

It has been nearly 2 weeks since the last flood waters covered downtown Siem Reap. All tourist areas are clear of water logged roads, though I can't say the same for some of the lakeside areas which are still facing high water levels.

As a result of all this drying out, several folks have been coming down with strange stomach bugs (me included). Who knows the exact cause, but considering how the water swept trash and sewage onto the roadways and into gardens, as it dries out we're being exposed to some rotten dust particles, and even potential water contamination.

I'm steering clear of fresh greens for awhile.

In the meantime, Bangkok is underwater and getting worse. Of course it gets all the international news attention, not silly old back woods Cambodia. But where you have higher population numbers and more developed industry, there is more death, destruction and high cost damage.

Maybe the canceled Cambodian boat races can take place in Thailand?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Post-flooding crisis response

There are so many amazing things happening in Cambodia right now!

I know that may seem strange to say considering that Cambodia has just been through some of the most severe flooding it's seen in nearly 50 years, wreaking incredible havoc across the country destroying homes, pagodas, schools and rice fields.

Most impressive are the efforts of a few of the local organizations who are teaming up with hotels and businesses to deliver much-needed food aid to communities severely affected by the recent flooding.

Here's a glimpse of just what's going on and how you can contribute to such worth endeavors. Your direct monetary donation or purchase of rice for them will go directly to the most needy.

Green Gecko Project with support from Hotel de la Paix, Heritage Suites, Golden Banana Resort, and Exotissimo. Just this weekend they delivered around 800 emergency food packs for needy villagers in Siem Reap communities, many of which have completely lost their homes.

Grace House Community Center with support from Raffles Grand Hotel has been providing emergency rice relief to many of its communities and others around.

MaD for Cambodia working in one of the poorest villages in Siem Reap province which is 50 kilometers from the nearest district town. They have been bringing emergency food packs in the $2o range, with top ups in the $12 range.

You can also read more on TravelFish about the situation and what is being done.

Learn why visiting an orphanage is

Another incredible thing to come out this week was the release of the Friends International website campaign against orphanage tourism.

They offer an excellent resource to be shared about why visiting an orphanage is NOT the way to volunteer.

The information is from Friends International who developed the ChildSafe program within Cambodia to protect the rights and safety of children. It gives very clear reasons why volunteering in an orphanage can do more harm than good, no matter what you think otherwise.

I am SO excited for this information and am trying to spread it far and wide. PLEASE SHARE!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Water, water everywhere

OK. So We're going through our 3rd flood in Siem Reap where the river has over flown its banks and spilled into the streets turning them into extended tributaries. From morning to afternoon, the river rose and spilled over so that you couldn't see its banks.

Lower Wat Bo Road and all its side streets are full of water. ACE has a muddy river rushing past its gates and even filled the ground floor of the school 2 weeks ago. The Wat Damnak area has been inundated since early September.

The Old Market and Pub Street area are covered in water, though businesses and restaurants manage to stay open. They're still suffering as many tourists opt to stay in their guesthouses and hotels rather than wade through the murky waters.

You would think this would attract some international attention, maybe even national attention. Unfortunately, not so much. It took nearly 2 weeks for local papers to even begin reporting about flooding. In the past week the death toll has risen from nearly 150 to just over 200 people. Apparently the Cambodian government is promising $500 USD to every family that has lost someone to drowning.

Thousands of hectares of rice fields have been flooded leaving a huge unknown gap in the futures of rice production for the year. At a time when rice heads should be maturing, they are being drowned on the stalk.

Despite all this, Cambodians just keep on keeping on. They just roll up their trousers, hop on a motorbike or bicycle and head on out to school, work, or just simply driving around town. Life goes on even with sewage infused water flowing in and amongst everything.