A normal week in Phnom Penh

             Last week at work was another really interesting look into how important legal aid systems are. I had the opportunity to interview another client who had received a successful outcome from a case that took place right here in Phnom Penh. In this instance, it was presumed that the client was guilty without anything but a statement from the alleged victim. As a result, the client was in jail for the next eight months. He could not afford a lawyer and without IBJ he would almost definitely still be in jail. I also did some really interesting reading about the judicial and rule of law development plan for Cambodia. As we get closer to turning in a final draft of a large report on a three year plan for one of our major donors, we met with them to do a brief presentation of the project they funded. Upon completion of the presentation we received a few areas to improve on for the final draft. As such, I was asked to do some research and write about how IBJ’s work fits into the government’s broad strategy for development in Cambodia. Many of our goals were similar or related which definitely bodes well for the future, as perhaps in the future there will be better cooperation and working in synchronization with each other.

                 The rainy season in Cambodia has officially begun, and it is definitely not what I expected. In my head, I pictured days and days of rain, when in reality what tends to happen here is it absolutely pours for about an hour or so, usually in the middle of the afternoon and that is mostly it. On the whole, it’s quite pleasant, it seems to cool down the air a bit for my bike ride home.

                 I have been coaching a soccer team for some young high school students in Phnon Penh on Saturdays, and this past Saturday was my last game. Luckily, we won thanks to some expert tactical decisions from myself.  Overall, coaching was a really interesting way to interact with an age group I really wouldn't see much of otherwise.  The younger generation of Cambodians in Phnom Penh tends to know decent English, or are at least very interested in learning it, so  we were able to communicate well and learn a bit about one another over the summer.  

                On Saturday night, a few friends from work and I went to a another coworker's family house for a traditional Budhist celebration of life for her grandfather who had died two years ago.  The whole evening was really upbeat and a nice atmosphere to be a part of.  We ate a great dinner of traditional Khmer food under a tent outside, and then were showed around her family's house.  In Cambodia, there is lots of quality wood work, and this house was almost entirely made up of it, I don't think I have ever seen something quite like it.  Unfortunately, last week is my last week in Phnom Penh, so I intend on doing a lot over these next seven days.  Afterwards, I am looking forward to visiting  Battambang and Siem Reap, which I am sure will be excellent experiences.