Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's Cambodia like?

A friend from Colorado asked, "So how is Cambodia?" The following is the short answer:

Cambodia is... Cambodia, Phnom Penh is not most of Cambodia.

It is highly influenced by the west. It is very different than the west.

There is as much work as you will take on. It is slower paced.

Many things cost less. Many things cost more, Some cost the same.

We love the guys here! The guys can drive us crazy! They are all great guys.

You can find most things. You have to learn where to find things.

Not knowing the language is not really a problem. I look forward to knowing the language.

The drivers here drive crazy. The drivers here are more aware.

Plants grow on everything. A large stretch of grass is hard to find.

Cambodians are very diverse. White people all look the same.

I'm glad I can fix most things myself. Labor is so cheap I should hire it all out.

Your neighbor won't complain if your trashcan is on the curb for a week.There is trash always strewn on the sidewalks.

Bottled water is cheep. Don't drink from the tap.

There is poverty everywhere. We are making a difference.

Our boys are doing great. Our boys get tired of new things.

I have seen things here that are awesome. I have seen things here that break my heart.

I have become more aware of the plight of truly poor people. I have had to become detached from that which I can not change.

Life can be hard. Our job is our life. Our job is fun.

To sum it all up with a Cambodian phrase... SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT!

As I wrote this it became very apparent that I am staring into a PARADOX.... of me in Cambodia. If at any point it seams contradictory and or confusing you have experienced a little bit of Cambodia. If you look at Cambodia from a Western eye it can be very confusing. But taken in context with the cultural, religious, past, and present influences, it all makes sense.

With all that said Cambodia is great and I would do it all over again in a heart-beat.

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