I arrived in Phnom Penh at 3.00 pm on Monday after travelling for over 24 hours. While travelling to my accommodation it soon came back to me what Phnom Penh is really like :- The manic traffic that is a law unto itself, the bee baa of the ambulances as they attend to yet another road crash,the weather which can change so quickly with such intense thunder storms, and the poverty that seems to be everywhere. All said and done it is good to be back 🙂
On Tuesday I spent @ 3 hours checking emails and Messages and then took a walk to The AON Mall which was under construction when I left 15 months ago. It is very nice and very big….but also very empty ! Probably because it so expensive for most Cambodians.
In the evening I met my friend Channy and her boyfriend for a meal. Channy is the lady who heads up Victor Laszlo in Phnom Penh and I arranged to visit them all on Saturday, Her boyfriend was able to give me a contact for another project I am working on.
Wednesday was a Wonderful day. Srey Mey is a girl who lives in the slums in the south of the city and as been supported by some friends of mine who run a coffee morning at the Church I used to attend. With other funds available we were able to arrange for her to attend one of the top schools in Cambodia Beltei . Srey Mey wants one day to be a Doctor,so she can help other people, and with this opportunity for her to attend Beltei it is now one step closer for her. There is just one thing that she has to do and that is pass her entrance exam. She took this in the afternoon and passed. On Saturday I will go to the school to sign the paperwork an pay the fees.
Here is a little bit of background on her and her family:- She has one brother and one sister but no father.Her mother works 7 days a week 8 hour a day as cleaner for $100 a month. Her rent costs $20 a month so they have to live off just $20 a week (that is £12) They all live together live in a room that is probably 3 meters by 3 meters. They recently moved there as they couldn’t afford the rent of $25 for a much larger room that is now still empty….
In the afternoon I went to see the shop that Channy has opened in The Russian Market with a friend of hers who works for a NGO. It was the first day of opening but she has big ambitions and dreams. All the products she sells are made by former sex workers so the more she sells the more sex workers she can employ and get them out and away from the life they have been leading.
In the evening I met a friend of mine who I used to work with and we went out for a pizza ( I think pizza is probably ,secretly, Cambodians favorite food). It was good to meet her and her boyfriend again and I was pleased to hear that they will be married next year.