Archive for January 14th, 2008

Although I’m excited as anything about the climate of cooperation here between individuals as representatives of the various views and opinions on adoption … and fully intend to keep this up all the way through the Adoptee Rights Protest in July and beyond … I have been neglecting some threads I was covering weekly when doing the three blogs I did daily on that dying site that will remain linkless, a most important, close-to-my-heart one being happenings in Cambodia.

With rumors now rife that something is bubbling in the pot that’s had Cambodian adoption stewing in its in own juice since since December 2001, it seems a good time to dedicate a post to the birth country of two of my children and let people know some of what’s happening on the ground there.

First, the rumor … and that is that there may be some end in sight for the suspension on adoptions that has kept Cambodian children from American families for going on seven years. The latest grist has it that the government is working toward Hague compliance and that meetings with orphanage directors were conducted last month.

We can hope!

Some of the most exciting news … in terms of real news, not rumor … comes from the fact that Kari Grady Grossman, author of the wonderful “Bones That Float: A Story of Adopting Cambodia, a book I highly recommend to any and all, even those with no connection to the country at all, which is why it’s featured in the sidebar of this blog, is spending a chunk of time in the country and getting some great stuff done while she’s there.

Kari’s book and efforts fund a school in the Cardamom Mountains that in turn supports a forest, and she and her family are now there working for a month to set up projects, promote others and generally toil ’til the cows come home, and are loving every minute.

Please take a moment to check out her blog, “Be the Change Network” and read all about this trip, the school, the place and the country. If you’re at all tempted to buy a book or donate, you’ll have her thanks and the joy of knowing you’ve helped a great cause.

Today’s post is about making briquettes from scrap and throwaways, giving the local people a way to make their own fuel without having to cut down forest. Like all of Kari’s work, it makes SO MUCH SENSE!

More dangerous scrap is discussed in this story from the Earth Times.

It seems the government has managed to confiscate … get this … more than 6,000 bullets and 1,000 bombs and grenades from scrap metal dealers near the Thai border. It’s dangerous work retrieving the small amount of copper and such from unexploded ordinance, but well worth the risk to some.

The sad truth is that UXBs are as much a “natural” resource in Cambodia as tropical hardwood … and easier to come by for many.

The dengue fever outbreak that had us postpone our Cambodian trip last year has taken an “official” toll of 407 people dead and more than 40,000 hospitalized for treatment.

Having had dengue twice, and with a son who has experienced febrile seizures, we let the misery combine with a couple of other factors and send us elsewhere for a vacation. (I know. I’m a wimp.)

For news of another kind of plague, this about a South Korean construction company ready to plop skyscrapers and build “new cities” in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville pretty much tells the story.

Sry Thamrong, advisor to Hun Sen, said that the firm will begin constructing a 53-storey international financial building in mid-2008 on nearly seven hectares of land near the Russian Embassy in Phnom Penh’s Tonle Bassac commune and the construction is scheduled to be completed in 2012.

For how much longer will this sort of global homogenization toward uniform big and ugly and whatever-happens-to-be-trendy-today be considered “progress”? Sustainable development, my ass! If this keeps up, there will be no difference between Phnom Penh and Burbank, and the fact that some see that as a good thing is very scary.

Here’s another story along the same lines, but this one has Japan paying for highways. Has no one noticed that highways are not necessarily a good thing, and that perhaps plowing them through jungle has some nasty side effects?

And how about this look at some ancient development?

Radio Australia has reported that a 1000-year-old water system could be the answer to preventing the nation’s Angkor temples from sinking.

Cambodia welcomed two million tourists last year and with figures expecting to reach three-million this year, authorities are growingly concerned with the area’s underground water reservoir. Scientists also believe that if unregulated pumping of water from beneath the temples continue, the ancient ruins could be destroyed forever.

Cambodia’s Minister for Commerce, Cham Prasidh said that by reviving the ancient water system, pressure from the temple’s underground water supply could be alleviated.

Seems that they had that “sustainable” thing down 1,000 years ago …

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