Last week the office grew a little and we gained four new legal interns from James Cook University, Queensland, Australia. They will remain in the office for two weeks and will be conducting a case analysis as well as helping us to update our internal records and potentially giving us inroads with Ausaide. Ausaide was previously one of IBJ Cambodia’s biggest donors but unfortunately IBJ was one of the causalities of large budget cuts to Australia’s aide program. This lack of funding has put IBJ Cambodia in a very precarious situation. They have laid off a lot of staff and had to rely more and more on volunteers and people wearing multiple hats to keep to program running. Even with these precautions there is a serious risk of IBJ Cambodia closing down, because of that Jenessy and I have been working on finding new donors and methods of funding.
In more personal news, I was evicted from my apartment last week. It turns out that the landlord that I had been paying, and had given my first and last months deposit too was pocketing the cash and not paying the person she was renting the apartment from. I found this out on Tuesday when I arrived home to an apartment with the power and water shut off and someone representing the landlord stating that I had three days to move out. The person I had rented to room unfortunately was now back in Vietnam and was very hard to reach, she would send people over to box up and take all of her things but she was still telling me that there was some mistake and she would work it out. I spent the next few days squatting in this gutted apartment that would get up well past 100 degrees at night with no fans or a/c having short conversations with a representative of the landlord who was well and ready to be rid of this person he had no idea was living in the apartment. I was finally able to find a new place after a few nights in the apartment and crashing on a friends couch, and now I’m in a lovely new spot near the Russian market and work. I still never got my deposit back and I feel like I was scammed but you live and you learn I guess.
Phnom Penh also has an amazing rock climbing gym with a great community of Cambodians and expats. It is now on my way home from work so I find my self stopping in to boulder most days, and it great to see people helping each other solve climbing problems and give tips in five or six different languages or pantomimes. The gym was only opened three years ago and is located off of a small alley but the warehouse the rented opens up into a huge gym with great bouldering and top rope walls. The routes are regularly updated and the operators are open to anyone trying to set their own routes and participate in its creation.