Officially into my last month of the internship! This week has been harder for me than most. I’m currently at a stage of culture shock where I’m experiencing deeper frustration with traveling alone, especially as a young woman. The other night, I had a particularly stressful time trying to get a tuk tuk ride back home. A large group of drivers started laughing at me after I asked how much the taxi ride would be, and I had no idea what they were saying or what was going on. Everything worked out in the end, but afterwards I realized that I’m still going through a bit of an adjustment period.
Overall, however, I’ve really enjoyed living in Cambodia and look forward to seeing more of the country. A couple of weeks ago, I went on short adventure to Koh Rong Island with an intern I met at one of Liberty Asia’s partner organizations. We went on a day-long boat tour where we got to snorkel, fish, and even swim with the island’s bioluminescent plankton. In about two weeks I’ll be in Sen Monorom visiting the Mondulkiri Project, an elephant sanctuary and forest conservation site.
Right now my boss and other VCMS co-worker are attending an anti-trafficking conference in Kenya, so I’m holding down the fort here in Cambodia. Now that I am a fully fledged system admin, I’ll be spending the next week working on data cleaning for Alliance Anti-Trafic (AAT), one of our partners based in Vietnam. I’m reading through their case notes and inputing more information on the transportation, employment industry, and sites of exploitation for their cases. The goal of this project is to eventually create more detailed reports for AAT that will help them visualize case relationships and offer more support for their clients.
I am also working on a few side projects. At the moment, Liberty Asia is going through a name change. With partners now in South Africa, Uganda, and Kenya, the organization is transitioning to become Liberty Global. Because the Liberty Global/Liberty Asia is undergoing more serious expansion, I’ve been researching potential funding opportunities as well as conferences and events useful for the VCMS team to attend relating to modern slavery, labor rights, and fair work. I’m looking forward to what my final month in Cambodia will bring!