While working and travelling in Cambodia, Sylvan Laker Karissa Noselski wrote a blog about her adventures. Here are several passages.
July 27, 2013 – “My first month in Cambodia and I have already experienced both the city and the village life, and I feel almost accustomed to the insane heat.”
“I have planted rice in the provinces, cooked Khmer food, visited various homes and schools where I got to build relationships with the locals, I have learned to love rice (for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner), and I have developed enough Khmer language skills to get by and somehow make it back to our apartment in the city.”
“Spending lots of time out in the rural villages of Cambodia, I get to see how some people can live so simply and be so happy. This has really shown me what it takes to makes a person truly happy Ñ the relationships that people have with others in their lives. The sense of family and community in this country is fantastic and inspiring: Everyone seems to be sharing, working together, and living like one big family.”
August 6, 2013 – “They definitely weren’t kidding when they said it rains a lot during the rainy season here (whoever said that). It has rained A LOT and we have repeatedly been caught in downpours whether it be during a 30 minute bike ride when we got quite lost on our very first trip back to our ‘new apartment’ with all our electronics and no raincoats (and very little sense of direction), to being out in the countryside on the dirt roads in a torrential downpour for an hour and a half on the back of a moto on the way home for the day.”
“I have learned to love it because I know how important it is to people here and it not only cools you down in the hot, hot heat and minimizes the dust, but the kids always go running and playing in the rain like it’s the most fun they have had in a long time. I have definitely also learned to always be prepared for the rain.”
October 2, 2013 – “One of the most fascinating things I have observed being in Cambodia is the different types of dwellings and developments that exist in a developing country compared to a developed country and how people live such different lives here.”
“I see the houses in rural Cambodia, I am amazed at how simple and yet diverse these dwellings can be. They are all generally made from local materials and created to be open concept because of the warm climate in Cambodia. An average rural Cambodian home is built high up on stilts to protect the house from flooding.”
“Khmer homes are usually made with bamboo flooring and have a communal living space underneath where the family and people in the community interact and spend their free time. There are usually no real bedrooms and people just set up their mosquito nets and sleep on a mat in a sectioned off area of the house designated for sleeping. Furniture is not very common and the windows are open to the outside with wooden shutters.”
“The most interesting observation I have made after seeing a variety of different homes in the countryside here is the concept of wealth and how that impacts the types of homes people have. In rural Cambodia it becomes noticeable as you pass a few homes the amount of money the home owner makes just by looking at the materials the home is made of and if the home is enclosed on the bottom floor.”
What I have noticed is that the more money a homeowner makes, the more concrete, enclosed, and secluded the home becomes.
January 9, 2014 – From the day I arrived in Cambodia, the one thing I truly love is how people spend so much time in front or under their houses Ñ out in the open or even out onto whatever sidewalk or space there is for them to use. If there is a sidewalk, it is full of people and it doesn’t seem to matter where it is. There are people laying in hammocks, popcorn and corn vendors, people selling flowers, and many shops that all depend on public spaces to do their business.
“It certainly helps that the climate here is so warm that people spend a lot of time outside and that they also have incredible diversity when it comes to fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers to sell. Also, most people don’t have the extra space at their own home like a yard with grass or a nearby park like we in the Western world know so fondly.”
To read more about Karissa’s travels check her blog at http://karissastraveladventures.wordpress.com/.