Stories tagged with Cambodia

Jun 6, 2008 KH Cambodia

I packed light for my trip, because I heard what a breeze it is to buy everyday items at the local markets in Cambodia. After settling in at my guest house in Phnom Penh, I headed down to do just that at the nearby Phsar Toul Tom Poung Market, aka “Russian Market.” Why do they call it that, you ask? Apparently they don’t…

Even before I stepped outside of the entrance to my guest house, a handful of men eagerly...

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Jun 6, 2008 KH Cambodia

So I had this crazy experience in Phnom Penh yesterday. I saw a sign for a $7 massage. Seven dollars!!! No way! Turns out the experience was a crazy experience in which this tiny Khmer woman twisted and contorted my—

 

Oh, blast. Gary already told this story. I guess I’ll have to come up with something else….

 

...

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Jun 6, 2008 KH Cambodia

Blackouts without notice
And “internet down”
Spreadsheets that prod me
To cry and frown
Riding on motos
And closing my eyes
Clients are always my humanity ties…”

Okay, fine, that was really corny. Consider yourself lucky, though, because it was either that or “In da Field” to the tune of “In da Club” by Fiddie Cent.

This wonderful woman read my palm. She told me that if I married it would be to an older man, then asked me why I would want to marry such an old man. I don’...

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Jun 6, 2008 KH Cambodia

Probably one of the biggest issues facing microfinance today is that of impact. To what extent has microfinance actually affected global poverty? In what ways can its impact be measured, and how sustainable is it? Will it continue to grow? Though I agree that understanding impact is crucial and developing social impact studies and matrices is a valuable undertaking, I question the ability we have to concretely measure the more soft-data effects. How does one quantify the feeling of being better off?

One of the main responsibilities of Kiva fellows is to assist with the...

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May 5, 2008 KH Cambodia

Higher education opportunities aren’t a reality for most females in Cambodia.  Making it to university is a feat for the average male, let alone female.  With limited household income, rural families have difficulties supporting their children through school, especially beyond a primary education.  The odds for children to make it through secondary school will inevitably be dependent upon the school’s distance from the household: transportation...

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May 5, 2008 KH Cambodia

Often when I visit clients with a loan officer, we show them a picture of their KIVA profile and explain that people around the world have read about them and helped to finance their loans.  Upon seeing their pictures, many blush with embarrassment.  (For many, it’s one of the few photos they’ve taken in their life.)  After a second look, a huge grin usually appears and the...

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Apr 4, 2008 KH Cambodia

Most of the clients I visit make just enough money from their businesses to get by day to day.  When you ask what their future plans or hopes are, some have none in sight- just repeating the same monotonous labor, day in and day out, to continue to put food on the table… challenging enough with the rising food inflation here (http://www.voanews.com/english/2008-04-21-voa21.cfm).  If family members are sick (with an 8+ member household in a developing country- odds are someone will be sick), medical...

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Apr 4, 2008 KH Cambodia

Last month I had the chance to shadow a couple HKL credit officers at the Kampong Cham branch, an hour and a half northeast of Phnom Penh. Since my responsibilities here in Cambodia are mainly training and implementing the Kiva process rather than write journals, I was excited to get out and meet the people who make microfinance happen. I have nothing but the highest respect for Mr. Virak and Mr. Vo, who ride around the hot, dusty countryside four days a week helping prospective clients process loan applications. And they manage to look sharp while they’re at it, which is a challenge...

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Apr 4, 2008 KH Cambodia

Inspired by the TZ fellows, I’ve come up with a top 10 for a taste of Cambodia:

1) The first questions people ask you are not “where are you from” or “what do you do” but “how old are you” and “are you married.”
2) Your clients bring you pictures of their sons and try to arrange marriages during your meetings.
3) A “taxi” transports 50+ people… and you don’t get a discount for sitting on the roof.
4) The Lexus SUV on the street has one person inside and the motorcycle beside it is transporting a family of 7… plus some groceries.
5) Drivers make their own...

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Apr 4, 2008 KH Cambodia

This is why I love my office…

The other day at work, my colleagues found out I have a cell phone.  They immediately took turns getting my digits- wanting my phone # ‘just because.’  Some who are hesitant to use English will call and hang up as a “just...

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