Week 9: Salesforce & Choeung Ek

Last week at the office I mainly continued my work on updating our case management system Salesforce. I was also able to attend USAID’s Development Innovation Grants and Partnership Fund question and answer session to see if we could secure funding for our use of it. Unfortunately I learned at the conference that our use of Salesforce to document and organize our work was not necessarily their preferred funding target. It was very interesting to see some of the past works that they have funded and the work that others were proposing this time around as well. This focused a lot more on tech start ups that were designing keyboards that would be more accessible to the Khmer language and apps that would help with reporting illegal deforestation. There were also a good group of for profit organizations that were working with big data start ups. It was interesting to see this whole side of Cambodian industry I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I also ran into a couple of people I knew from the climbing gym and it was nice to see them in their professional environment.  Aside from my work for in Salesforce, Ive also gotten started on a new success story, and have been getting information together for a report to the head office in Geneva.  

Outside of work this week, I had a chance to explore the Aeon mall when I went to see a movie on Friday, and it was a monstrosity. It has to be one of the largest malls Ive been to, equipped with full grocery stores, ice skating rinks, later tags, and more stores and restaurants than I could name. I quickly became utterly lost and overwhelmed by it all. On Saturday I spent most of the day biking around the city and checking out many of the sites that I still had not visited. I had the chance to check out a few pagodas, as well as the Al-Serkal mosque and the Olympic Stadium. On Sunday I visited Choeung Ek or the killing fields. This is a site two miles south of the city where between 1975 and 1978 thousands of men, women, and children were transported murdered and then buried in mass graves. The site itself was incredibly powerful, many of the graves bad been excavated while others had not. Walking around the site you will come across pieces of bone and clothing on the ground that have resurfaced from the mass graves beneath you. It was hard to witness but incredibly well done with audio recordings of survivors and the history of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot.  It is hard to imagine that less than forty years ago that for the crime of being a lawyer, doctor, or even just wearing glasses one could have ended up in one of the mass graves. It is amazing to see, at least in the legal field, how much progress has been made since it was completely dismantled. It makes me proud of the work that IBJ has accomplished in Cambodia in rebuilding a working legal system that focuses on the rights of the accused. 

It has just set in how soon my time in Cambodia will come to an end and I’m trying to make sure not miss anything. I only have a little over a week left and there is still so much I’d like to do.