We’ve been working here in Cambodia for one month now and are very much enjoying our respective placements.
Our roles are similar to what we used to do in the UK, but there are a few differences which might be worth pointing out. So below is a list comparing a typical work-day in the UK to Cambodia, followed by some detail about our roles.
Time
UK
Time
Cambodia
6:15
Get up and in desperate need for the heating, a warm cuppa and a hot shower after a cold nicht in bed (Mr. Lowe doesn’t approve of heatings on at night)
7:00
Get up in desperate need for an ice cold drink and a cold shower after a hot and sticky night. Mr. Lowe isn’t too pleased about that as you can imagine.
6:45
No time for breakfast, because I need to rush to the trainstation for my mammoth 1.5 hour commute to London.
7:30
After breakfast my trusted tuk tuk driver Nak takes me to work. The 30 minute journey is fairly relaxing as I don’t have to navigate the chaotic streets of Phnom Penh.
8:15
After a usually delayed train journey and a hot tube journey I finally arrive in the office. Desperate for another cuppa and some breakfast. Putting on cardi as office is freezing again and ready to do my usual work routine.
8:00
Arrival in the office desperate for a cold drink and air conditioning. Once I have killed the ants on my desk I am ready to do my work routine.
12:00
Lunchtime, but it is too rainy to go outside and I am too busy anyway, so eat lunch at desk whilst continuing to work.
12:00
Lunchtime. My lunch break is 2 hours and as it is too hot to go outside I eat in the kitchen and then check out the latest facebook gossip, email friends and family and update our blog of course.
14:00
Time for another cuppa.
14:00
Daily visit of the  friendly gecko who made our office his home. He comes and checks on me the same time every day.
15:00
Meeting with colleagues, pretending to understand civil service lingo.
15:00
Team meeting pretending to understand my colleagues speaking Khmer.
17:15
Leaving the office to catch my 6 ‘o clock train home for another 1.5h commute.
17:30
Leaving the office for another 30 minute tuk tuk ride back home.
I'm working with an organisation called Youth Star Cambodia, 
a small Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), which sends Cambodian 
university graduates to volunteer in under-served, rural communities, 
working on issues such as education, secure livelihoods, health education 
etc. My role is to help them with their fundraising and marketing strategy.
ýouth star office
Chris is working with an American Foundation on various human
rights issues, none of which he ever explains very clearly. But I do know that
part of his work relates to land rights – a big issue in a country where all
land ownership records were destroyed by the Khmer Rouge as part of the policy
of abolishing private property. So since becoming a new nation again in 1993, Cambodia has had the small task of working out, from scratch, which of its 14 million citizens legitimately owns which piece of land! And throw into the mix the fact foreign companies want a piece of the action too and it all becomes a little tricky.
Below is a photo from a conference Chris attended in Battambang province
bringing together local authorities, communities, and the judiciary to search
for peaceful solutions to land issues.
Battambang province
Village life
Turning insects into orchids*

*The nests in the trees are purpose built by villagers to attract bats. Not only do bats eat insects (and nobody likes insects), but their waste can also be collected from the ground beneath the trees to be used as fertiliser. Chris’s boss bought a big bag of the stuff to feed his wife’s orchids. Proof that, via bats, it is possible to turn insects into orchids.

About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

7 Thoughts on “A typical work day

  1. sieht ja mal sehr interessant und entspannt aus würde gerne m den Gecko kennenlernen poste mal ein Foto
    A h und schönen Nikolaus

  2. Ich versuch’s. Der ist aber ganz schoen flink der Kleine. Krabbelt immer die Wand hoch, guckt uns an und dann ist er auch schon wieder weg. Total suess.

  3. Oh, und auch einen schoenen Nikolaus. Hoffe, dass Deine Stiefel voll gefuellt werden. Stellst Du noch die Anglerstiefel raus wie frueher? 😉

  4. The vibe of this place is very close to what the Philippines is.

    • Tammyonthemove on November 10, 2015 at 8:30 am said:

      Oh really? I have never been to the Philippines, but would love to go actually. Especially if the vibe is the same as in Cambodia.

      • I would gladly recommend Palawan, Sagada, Intramuros, and Pangasinan. Baguio, Iloilo, and Cavite ain’t half bad either. I haven’t been to Boracay but it’s been in my bucket list since I was young. Though I have to warn you if you arrive in the metro, because the traffic will make you wish you landed directly somewhere else. And there’s tons of money laundering scams in our international airport. But yeah, after landing here you’ll have a great time.

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