Cambodia, Thailand

Southeast Asia Report 28: What is Development in Cambodia

November 23, 2007 Battambang (Cambodia)

The Homeland cafe
The Homeland cafe

To have breakfast, I went to the Homeland’s cafe called ‘Fresh eats Cafe’ and I ordered Noodle and Coffee. Yesterday, after leaving Homeland, I came to this as well. At that moment, the top of the NGO told me, “You don’t need to pay, Ippei.” I was really impressed. She did not know about me well because we had just met yesterday.

This organisation has had many supports from all over the world, including the UNICEF and NGOs. I think the reason why they can have much donation is the personalities of staff and the boss. They are really kind and love children very much.

An Italian man who I saw in Homeland used to work for the organisation as an internship student for a year. Now, he is studying International Development for his Master degree in Italy, while he is working another internship in Phnom Penh. He can speak Kmer, which surprised me. I asked him why he got interested in development issues. He said, “Coming to Homeland was my terning point. My university had programme to work somewhere for a year. I chose here. Then, I changed my subject to Development Studies. I like small organisations because I can understand what’s going on. But in big organisations, they deal with too wide ranges of issues for me. So I don’t know how I can help people.

Over the border between Thailand and Cambodia, I am on the way to Bangkok now. The scenery here is totally different from Cambodia’s. Until I got to Poipet, I had been on the bus bumping up and down strongly, but this bus is going calmly. I mean the Thai bus.

On the Thai border
On the Thai border

At 9 pm, our bus finally got at Kaosan Road. I looked for accommodation with a Japanese woman who I saw and talked to in the Battambang bus terminal. She has been studying Kmer Literacy in Royal University of Phnom Penh for 4 years since she stopped working at a Japanese NGO removing landmines. In this time, she came to Bangkok to look for books for her final essay. After that, She is going to go back to her previous job. It is really interesting why she took part in that organisation because she is very calm and girlish. I cannot imagine she has such strong passion.

When we found a guesthouse which I looked up in my Lonely Planet, we checked in separately with good-bye. It was a bit expensive but it was very late for me to look for another place. Many tourists were still hanging around to drink or looking for Thai girls.

To be honest, Bangkok is not a city I would like to see and walk in this trip. This city is really developed like Japan. I want to come back here after decades.

Bus to Bangkok 15US$
Hotel 580B
Snack 2500riel
Breakfast 7500riel
Drink and Beer 26B
Internet 30B
Total 42.5US$

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