Topics: Fire

Cambodia is trying hard to be a more modern country and in some ways–more paved streets, high-rise buildings, horrendous traffic–it has succeeded. But there are other elements of daily life that hearken back to the 18th century and beyond. One of those is the use of firewood for cooking. 80% of Cambodia uses wood or charcoal to cook every day, both at home and in the restaurants on the streets. It takes a tremendous toll on the remaining forests of the kingdom.

Trees: Struggling to live…

The trees of Phnom Penh have been tortured and disfigured over the last century–and many of them did not survive–but some are still making a strong effort to keep going with new shoots and branches. It says something about the in-built striving for life that is part of creation.

Sweeping: A Must

If you judge by their driving habits, Cambodians are an undisciplined group. With many coming from remote areas with dirt roads where cars can’t even go, the idea of following driving laws is novel and not easily accepted. There are many other areas of life, too, where modern practices–and requirements–of city life don’t resonate with people who grew up in a small bamboo house next to a rice paddy.

One exception to the lack of discipline, though, is sweeping–sweeping your street, your property, your house, your school, whatever you have. Sweeping is a MUST. Basically every business and household has someone sweeping in front of their building every morning. It’s just something Cambodians do….

Sweeping at home. Notice the car in the living room.
Sweeping at home gives you a chance to chat with the lady collecting recyclables.
Then you sweep the street out front.
And then you sweep the floor of your advertising business.