I only have a little less than two weeks left in Cambodia, and the nostalgia is starting to hit me hard. Last weekend, I managed to escape the busy city of Phnom Penh for the forested hills of Sen Monorom. The most exciting part of the trip was enjoying a full-day elephant trek through the jungle with the Mondulkiri Project. I wiped out in the mud many times, but had a blast feeding the elephants bananas and following them through the forest. The highlight of the day was getting to wash them in a waterfall, which was significantly harder to do than I thought it would be.
The majority of the elephants in the sanctuary are around 50-70 years old. A few of them lived through the Khmer Rouge and were used for transporting weapons. Unfortunately, many of the elephants in Cambodia were killed during the Civil War from the large number of land mines put in place by the Khmer Rouge. Today, they are often used for elephant riding. Sadly, one of the smaller elephants rescued by the Mondulkiri Project has a broken bone in her back because of this unethical tourist attraction.
My work with Liberty Global/Liberty Asia is going well. I finished the main project I’ve been working on for the past couple of weeks. There is a lot of good data in the system that sometimes gets lost in the case notes. It’s fulfilling to know that a lot of this information is now more accessible and can be utilized for things such as report building for our partners.
I’m currently in the process of planning out my final few tasks and have offered to continue to help out whenever I can. One of our contacts has also reached out to my boss asking if I would be interested in acting as a remote intern for them.
The end is always bittersweet, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get the chance to come back to Cambodia. But I have loved my time living in and exploring the country and hope that my travels to Southeast Asia don’t stop here!