Updates

Knowing the Tuk Tuk Drivers

There are many reasons why you should get to know your tuk tuk drivers here in Cambodia.  We definitely have our favorite drivers and whenever possible try to go with them.  Our new house has a tree on the street corner and lots of friendly drivers hang out there.  I’m looking forward to getting to know them!  Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Tuk tuk drivers often have a great sense of humor.  Trying to navigate in a new language can be frustrating but I’ve found the drivers laugh easily and are patient as I try to use new words.  That goes a long way to making things easier!
  • When running errands, it’s great to be with a driver I trust.  That means I can often leave my bags in the tuk tuk when running in to one market or another.  It’s rare to only need to go to one place to get everything you need here, even if it’s only a grocery run!
  • Tuk tuk drivers know where to find everything!  And at better prices.  As we are in the process of setting up a new house, being able to ask questions really cuts down on the amount of time finding something.  A lot of the best stores do not necessarily have a website.  It’s all word of mouth.
  • Same goes with the neighborhood.  When we were looking for a house, we went with a driver we trusted who knew the good prices, safe areas to live in and which areas flooded.
  • Several of our favorite drivers know where we live so it’s easy to call them and ask if they will pick us up or they know where to take us home at the end of the day.  One less set of directions to memorize!

It’s certainly possible to get around town other ways — in an automobile or on a moto. But we’re so glad for the relationships we have built by getting to know our drivers. They have made exploring our new home city possible, and so much more fun besides!

FAQ

Flooding?

Rainy season has officially hit and we LOVE it!  I have already been drenched on the way back from class and we have caught out in the rain while riding the moto.  It’s a great excuse to check out a new place while we wait for the storm to pass!  Not to worry, our rain jackets have proved up to the challenge of rainy season so far.  When the start of rainy season coincided with house hunting, it was a great way to see if a potential house flooded!  Good news — it did not and now we are preparing to move!

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Meet the Team, Updates

Meet the Team — Nivo

Nivo is another new member of our team here in Cambodia.

He comes to fill a major role as our first architect, and highly recommended at that! Nivo has been a critical part of big projects for organizations across Cambodia in the past few years — hospitals and schools. From design to coordinating on the ground — Nivo knows how things get done in Cambodia.

But it’s his heart that has us most excited about adding him to the team. A lot like many of the others, Nivo wrestled with reconciling his faith and his future during his teenage years. He wanted to serve God — but knew that being a pastor wasn’t the right fit. Architecture was, but through school and into his early career, he held on to a promise that his life would have impacts around the world. Now, with EMI, he’ll be a part of exactly that.

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Please join me in welcoming Nivo and his family to the EMI Cambodia team!

Updates

Housing Hunt

Our lease is up this summer and the search for housing brings with it a new level of learning about Cambodia. We were told to begin several months in advance to allow for time to have furniture made (you don’t typically just pick something up from a furniture store) and any upgrades like air conditioning put in.  We are moving so we can be closer to the office, now that we know where it is.  Here are a few things we are learning during this process:

  • The first step for any house is to ask about flooding. Phnom Penh is known for severe flooding in rainy season, which can either make your bottom floor very soggy, or make it difficult/impossible to drive on the streets in the neighborhood.
  • Zoning is not a thing in Cambodia.  It’s very common for your house to be surrounded by businesses and shops.  It’s even more common and a selling point to have a shop on the ground level of your house.
  • The price difference between apartments and houses.  Apartments often have air conditioning, appliances, might be furnished, security, etc.  As a result, a 2 bedroom apartment might be twice the price of a 4 bedroom house.
  • Houses are tall, skinny and often connected.
  • Balconies everywhere!  I have to admit, this is my favorite part!
  • Yards with grass? No.  Concrete pads? Yes.  Lots of plants (even trees!) in pots?  Of course!
  • The Khmer can work wonders with luxury wood and it’s incredible to see some of the floors, ceilings and furniture.
  • Realtors?  Might be selling the house themselves.  We are thankful our favorite tuk tuk driver is going around with us to check out everything.  We trust him!  Plus he has a great sense of humor.  Yesterday I brought my Khmer words coloring book (thank you Amy) and there was much gesturing and pointing.
  • Closets?  Haha, no.  They do not exist.  Pinterest, without closets you are not nearly so much help!
  • Cambodia is very relationship based.  Your classmate’s landlady’s best friend’s cousin knows of the perfect house for you?  Of course we will check it out!  Most likely it will be a great house too!

The process of finding a place to live is fascinating to me and we have barely scratched the surface.  Above all we want this house to be a safe place in the community, a place where people can come and learn about God.  We want a community where we can let His light shine brightly.

FAQ

These Rugs

Items we had no idea were missing from our household – these rugs. These rugs are made out of sweatshirt material and are about $0.50 in the market (or $0.75 if you are bad at negotiating). They are everywhere! No two are identical and they come in every color imaginable. We have a stack at the office to use for putting on the motos to keep the seats from getting hot. We put a blanket on one for Geordi under the desk and that’s where he sleeps while I am doing homework.  Have a spill on your floor?  No problem!  Just slide a rug over to mop it up and throw it in the laundry.  Someone told us when we moved here we would want a few and I definitely believe them now! I have a feeling that when wet season begins we will find even more uses for these rugs…