Sunday, July 23, 2006


Street Scenes

You can see two forms of transport. The cycle is a man operated tricycle contraption. The tuk tuk is in back. It is a motorcycle (or sometimes only 1/2 of a motorcycle) attached to a carriage.
It is not uncommon to see kids running around in the park naked. Or washing themselves in the river.
Here is a picture of the open markets. There is no refrigeration so the food is sitting out for all the world to see. Of course the 2 ducks do not really need refrigeration (yet!).
Here is another shot of the market where you can buy meats, fruits, and produce.
Here is a typical street picture. Actually, it is usually much busier.

Here are a few pictures I thought I would share. They were actually taken by a friend of mine when he visited here a few months ago (thanks Stan!). Nonetheless, the scenes are pretty common here. The pedestrian traffic is very limited. Thus to cross the street it is much like playing a real life game of Frogger without the music. Also, stop signs and stop lights are rare. If they do exist, they are only 'suggestions'. Everyone just comes full speed up to an intersection, looks both ways, and continues on. It is a very frightening system when you are on the back of a moped not sure who is going to stop...You or the SUV! However, somehow it all works. I read somewhere the main rule of the road is to maintain momentum. Thus, do what you can to avoid stopping. This means riding on the wrong side of the road 1/2 the time just to avoid stopping or going around the block. It is a beautiful system- and it works.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Data update

I know how much people like Rian love to hear about data, so here goes.

On Monday, my Ministry of Education informant gave me another set of surveys from the teacher training colleges. Now I only need surveys from one more teacher training college. As of today, my return rate is 68.06%. That is pretty good I think. I am told that most of the teacher trainers who did not complete the survey were physically not at the institution (death, maternity, left without pay, quit, or transferred). After inspecting all the surveys closely, I found surveys from only one institution appeared suspicious when I received 6 photocopies of the same completed survey! I flagged this up with the Ministry and they are looking into it. :)

Additionally, it looks like I will be able to interview some teacher trainers too. This qualitative aspect will really add to the study. I should have those arranged by next week.

Everything in Cambodia is going well. I am analyzing a survey for UNESCO on the state of technology in seven rural provinces. It is taking up much of my day and is proving to be quite the challenge. Not so much intellectually (which it is) but more logically. We hired a government agency to input the data from the surveys and to give us the raw numbers. Well, when they did this I found many logical contradictions. It has been a challenge stressing to this government agency that numbers should agree on every table in the report and that it is not a proper survey technique to simply fill in missing data!

Friday, July 07, 2006


Road trip to Kampong Chhnang to Cultural Museum of Cham People

On Friday, I was surprised with another road trip. This time, I ventured to the province of Kampong Chhnang to attend the opening ceremony of the Cham Cultural Heritage Center. The Cham people are the largest ethnic minority in Cambodia who originally came from Vietnam. I was seated up front by the podium with the other NGO representatives. Of course, the speeches were all in Khmer so I had very little idea what is being said; I only understood the general discussion. Well, once all the NGOs finished their talks, my boss suggested I should say a few words! Talk about being put on the spot! My training as an interculturalist really paid off here.

After the opening ceremonies, everyone brought out their cameras. One man, possibly the professional photographer, wanted a picture of me with him. (Keep in mind I was the only white person there). As I was standing there, an older woman got in the picture wanting her picture with me; the same happened with a younger woman. Finally, the photographer set his camera timer, ran to me, and put his arm around me for the picture. I can only imagine the future stories that will go through the village. Nonetheless, the Cham people were wonderful, hospitable (they fed us), and generous. When we left, Cham villagers gave us each a bag of cakes made from rice, eggs, and oil sprinkled with sugar. It is much the same as a funnel cake and very tasty. The picture of the tree with the woman on the left and the man on the right has these decorative cakes hanging from it. The picture of the young girls with the colorful turbines shows them giving the NGOs these cakes as gifts.

The final two pictures are from the truck on the way to this province. You can see the houses are on stilts. This entire area will flood in 2 months time. Although you cannot see it, the picture with the dirt road and the shacks on the side is actually about 15 feet above the ground. The river will rise to that level so the road is just above the flooded river!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Road trip to Kampong Cham

Yesterday I took a day trip to a school in the province of Kompong Cham. The school is the picture with the blue flag pole in front. I went there to attend the graduation of secondary school students (ages 15-17) from a technical vocational program. They were learning to repair electronic equipment. It was a very interesting project. On the way back, I snapped some pictures from the truck. The field is actually a rice field. The other picture is of a typical house I saw along the road.

Saturday, July 01, 2006


3 days in the field (I hope)

It has been a rather relaxing weekend. I spent most of it indoors editing a paper!

The good news is I should be heading to the field Monday afternoon for 3 days. I am not sure what provinces UNESCO is planning to visit, but just to have the chance to see the countryside will be exciting. If the plan goes through, I should have interesting tales to tell.

UPDATE- no field trip. UGH!

I did however find a wonderful oasis in the middle of downtown last night. It is a place called Elsewhere. It is set inside huge corrugated steel walls that look quite imposing. But once you are inside, it is a paradise. It is a French colonial style building in the middle of a lush garden. There are no tables to sit at per se, but rather little couches tucked away in trees here and there. It is very much like a person's backyard. Well, not my backyard...But someone's! Very cool. I will have to get pics next time and post them for you!

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