Working in Phnom Penh

As the days continue to roll by, we have much to report about all of our accomplishments. The day after our last update, we were joined by our friend Isaac for a shocking trip to the garbage dump.

Phnom Penh Garbage Dump

Home to some 1,000+ families, the dump was officially closed several years ago which has brought a precipitous decline in scavenging opportunities for the people of the area. Now without work, many residents are actually trucked over to the new garbage dump each day (at a cost) to hunt through mountains of garbage with the hope of re-selling discarded items.

Isaac often brings groups of foreigners to hand out bread and fruits, along with acting as a mobile health clinic. After purchasing 250 baguettes (at the cost of just $18 CAD), we visited a wholesale fruit market to buy many kilograms of bananas, rambutans and dragon fruit. Once we arrived, it was pandemonium. Giving out this food to all these needy people, we realized that this was definitely a band-aid solution. However, we felt it important for the group to see the abject poverty these people live in and understand what happens to communities that are left behind.

Excited kids at the garbage dumpFood mayhem

For the last two days, the group has worked with Save the Children in Asia Organization (SCAO). A small orphanage and English-learning centre located just outside of Phnom Penh, SCAO houses 20 orphans and runs classes for hundreds more throughout the week. We are currently funding and assisting with the re-construction of their school in order to keep the rains out during the rainy season. We also painted some murals, participated in conversation classes and played soccer in a field between two swamps with cows roaming across it.

Started the buildPainting a muralMural complete!

We will be working with New Future for Children (NFC) today to run fitness and leadership workshops, teach a little about Canada and end the day with a river cruise for all the kids. Should be a great day.

We’ve come to the realization that we have just 5 days together before Independent Travel Time (ITT) so we’ll sadly be breaking up very soon. We hope to get as much accomplished as we can during our remaining time here in Phnom Penh.

Until next time,

The SE Asia Discovery team