Unless you are in a larger town, there is often no electricity or sanitation and the bulk of the rural population relies on farming (rice) for survival. They primary eat fish (25%) and rice (75%) to survive. It actually takes 6-9 months to grow the primary rice the families like to eat and it is very laborious to grow and harvest. The average family member needs 300 pounds of rice a year to survive. In addition, most people in the villages don’t understand or trust banks…so that is why the raise and maintain cattle. Cows are their primary source of income, savings and source of labor when farming…hence why they often have so many.
We did have the opportunity to visit an English language school outside of Siem Riep. It was established and run by a local philanthropic organization to help young children learn English as a potential skill to help them grow long term in this poor economy that is dominated and dependent on tourism.
It was a real treat to meet them and hear them sing some English songs. It was a real treat.
We also had a chance to chat with them and although they are very shy, they open up nicely when you talk to them 1-1. We brought them some school supplies to help their effort…as things like pens, pencils, paper and even books are so expensive, most children and schools cannot afford them.
Here is something different. The most common sport we observed in Cambodia? Soccer is certainly of interest, but do you know what we observed the most people playing? Volleyball! I only wish I had some time to join a game and meet the future Olympic player from Cambodia 🙂
When travelling down to the Mekong River to catch a boat, we had the opportunity to see a large part of the rural areas.
We stopped a small fishing village for a rest stop…as toilets are not common in the rural areas of Cambodia. They have strict rules when they do have public ones though…
We even had a chance to visit and cross the oldest bridge in Cambodia.
It was almost like it was built by the Romans … but it was constructed with lava rock from the ancient volcanos that existed in the region a long time ago.