Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Last night and this morning have been more than enjoyable. Making new friends and meeting old friends will always be a big part of my life here in Cambodia, so meeting Kari and George Grady Grossman for the first time last evening, and then Loung Ung earlier today has put a big smile on my face.
Kari called me yesterday when she, George and their two children, Grady and Shanti, returned to Phnom Penh after weeks beavering away at their school and fuel project in the shadow of the Cardamom Mountains, hours from anywhere. We enjoyed a long chat on too many topics to recall whilst enjoying an Indian/Nepalese meal at Mount Everest on Sihanouk Blvd, accompanied by Kari's two Nepalese sustainable fuel specialists, both called Sanu. Kari and George are effectively full-time fundraisers for their project back home as Kari does speaking engagements across the States, and supplements that with sales of her book, Bones That Float, and Khmer handicrafts. They have a passion for their project and a passion for Cambodia, that is undiminished despite the problems they encounter on an almost daily basis.
Another friend who is chockablock full of passion and positive energy is Loung Ung. It's a year since we last met, but it felt like yesterday, as we spent a couple of hours catching up over coffee at The Living Room cafe, a block away from my office. Loung is in Cambodia visiting family members in various locations around the country and taking a relaxing break from her busy schedule in the States. She's earned a rest in my view. Fifteen years of working in human rights, writing her books and lecturing across the States and beyond have made her a well-known public figure, but here in Cambodia she can just become one of the crowd and that suits her just fine.
Links: Kari; Loung.

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