Week 5: CKAN and Khmer Cooking

Week 5…already!? How did that happen?

This is the half way point for my time with ODM in Phnom Penh. It is great to be back in the office this week, now that I’m healthy again. I’ve continued the editing process on my climate change, climate change adaptation, and climate change mitigation topic pages. I received some feedback that I was able to incorporate into the drafts, with more yet to come. We have to be very meticulous and careful with what we publish on the ODM website. Everything must be cited, verified and fact-based, and politically neutral. Once receive additional feedback and finalize my work further, it will be passed along to other proofreaders who are experts on the topic and region before it will be published. So, the process continues.

Open Development Laos (ODL) and ODM are working to get topic pages up on Laos public land leases and concessions. I’ve spent part of my week aiding that effort. It has given me a preview of what is to come as my own topic pages progress. In an effort to promote open data, the OD projects maintain a database for various resources cited in, and relevant to, material covered on their sites. Our database is powered by CKAN, which manages and organizes the materials. Uploading a resource to CKAN requires making detailed notes including: title, summary, author, publisher, date, language, tagging topics it correlates to within the OD taxonomy, key words, geographic relevance, and most importantly, copyright information. It is important to flag any issues with the resource, be it a copyright issue or a limitation on the dataset. Once uploaded, a separate person reviews the profile before publishing and making the resource publicly available on the OD database. It can be a tedious process, but I’ve become more efficient with practice. I expect that phase of my project will be smoother now that CKAN is no longer a mystery!

Last weekend, I spent time exploring Phnom Penh with my sister, showing her all the sights Phnom Penh has to offer. We took her to all of our usual haunts and tried several new cafes and restaurants. We even took a Khmer cooking class. It was great! We went to the Kandal Market to buy the fresh produce and spices. Being with a tourist group allowed me to finally capture some images of the market (I never pull my phone out when meandering through the markets, so as to not intrude or risk falling victim to a phone snatcher). We made spring rolls, sweet and sour sauce, and fish amok. Delicious!

On Sunday, Kathryn and I negotiated with a tuk tuk driver (with the help of several people who could speak some English) to take us to Silk Island (Koh Dach). This adventure required taking a ferry to the island. Our tuk tuk driver had to make several road-side stops to ask where to find it. We were befriended by a woman, Ana, who spoke very good English. She helped us navigate the ferry process and translated for our driver. She lives in Phnom Penh but grew up on Silk Island. She was returning to visit her parents who still live there. The Island lives up to its name, as most homes had several weaving looms below the stilted living quarters. Many people craft silk scarves, table runners and cloths, and fabric for shirts and dresses that are then sold at the central market. Ana invited us to her home to see the process; we were grateful for the authentic experience. We got lunch, enjoying the island’s lush and tranquil atmosphere before returning to the loud, bustling city.

This weekend, James and I travel to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat. As we’ve been told, a trip to Cambodia isn’t complete until you’ve visited the temples at Angkor Wat.

 market garlic


market frogs