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Jan Korevaar's Blog

 

I’ve been lucky during my time here to have had the opportunity to visit so many farms all over Cambodia and even in Thailand and India. I have to be honest up front and say that I didn’t learn as much as I could have. I could have come with better questions for the farmers such as what risks and opportunities they face, what crops they grow, what they like about farming, and so on. But it takes...

In cities I become restless and eventually the feeling becomes so strong that I have to start walking or biking. I don’t have any purpose on these trips, and when people ask me where I’m going I give an awkward “I don’t know” or keep moving straight ahead, to determined to notice. Inevitably these trips will lead me out of the city on the first path I see before I start to orbit back.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cambodia is not the land of milk and honey. The soils are poor and there is very little irrigation (some studies have suggested that the soil is so poor that creating a comprehensive irrigation system would be a waste of money). Unlike Thailand and Vietnam which squeeze beside it from both sides, Cambodia is barely able to harvest, thresh, and mill only around 2.5 tons per hectare (Vietnam grows upward of 5 tons per hectare). When you live in...

Last week I had the great opportunity to go to the ECHO Asia agriculture and community development conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is a Christian organization that supports community development workers to implement appropriate technologies and adapted agricultural techniques for small-holder farmers. I learned a lot while I was there: the different uses of the Moringa Tree (aka. The...

Today my hamstrings are partially immobilizing me because I spent a couple of hours transplanting rice on Friday. We were walking back through the village after having finished talking with a group of community members, when we heard someone yelling “Hey Barang!” (which basically means foreigner in Khmer). It was probably the fourteenth time I had heard it,...

Last weekend I biked to a small island in the Mekong River often called the silk weaving island, since the people on the island have made silk weaving their local industry and every house has a loom. Soon after I parked my bike on the ferry, a small group of university students started talking to me. They were just coming back from English school and they wanted to practice. After they finished asking me where I came from and whether,...

I know, it's been a long time since I've written. Sometimes it's hard to know how to tell other people about a new place. It's the same when you come back from a trip, whether it took a year or a week. You always get the "how was ____?" and the "tell me more about___." But what can you really say to that? You can show some pictures and tell some interesting stories, and after that, it's over. It's funny,...

 

For the past two weeks I have been spending most of the time getting myself oriented to the office and World Renew's work on the environment. This is going to be my focus for the next few months: the environment and how it impacts and is affected by rural communities. The plan is to hold focus group discussions with our partner NGOs and churches and several of the communities (to be led by my Cambodian counterpart, Sokim) to assess the...

It has almost a little over a week since I arrived here in Cambodia, and I would have written earlier, except that the heat and jet leg has made me go to sleep soon after I come home everyday.

The trip to Phnom Penh is a long one—between leaving my house at 8:00 in the morning on the 5th and arriving at the hotel in Phnom Penh at 11:00 in the evening the next day, 28 hours had passed. It doesn't...