Thursday, October 27, 2011

We have safely arrived in Chiang Mai about an hour ago. :)

We have safely arrived in Chiang Mai about an hour ago. :)

I will post an account of the journey in due course.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We are taking a bus departing Bangkok at 20:35

We are taking a bus departing Bangkok at 20:35, heading to the North to Chiang Mai. If you don't hear from us in 48 hours call the German Embassy and American Embassy and mention we might be stuck somewhere, Jason Stropko and Birgit Deubner. Birgit's Thai telephone number: 0837829094 (haven't got the country code to hand). Do not worry if you don't get through on the phone, we are traveling through the whole country and reception won't be very good outside the main cities and tourist sites. We are looking forward to the journey but just thought it's best to have a back-up and let someone know what we're up to. x

Even if we get stuck we are well equipped with water and a ton of nuts and sensible foods so no worries, we'd just like to not be stuck for too long, that's all. x

Don't know the name of the bus company but it's a public bus service which is well informed several times daily about safe roads and routes.

Lots of love from us.

Jason and Birgit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bangkok / Thailand / Flood damage in parts of the country, but we have dry feet and are safe and sound

"The TAT and other authorities have stated that the most areas of central Bangkok frequented by tourists will not become flooded and remain fully accessible. In some cases, roadways and paths situated near the river may become flooded due to high waters of Chao Phraya." (–-october-25-2011/)

Our plan was to help some friends and families in Cambodia, now we are in Bangkok kind of surrounded by approaching floodwaters ourselves.. This was definitely not anticipated.
I think it is problematic that the Thai government seems to have downplayed the effect the Flooding would have on Bangkok, a lot of businesses and factories are submerged by 1 -2 meters of water. When I think of flooding I rather naively think of a passing surplus of water that is maybe destructive, but not 2 meters deep.. In the worst hit areas of Thailand places are submerged by 4 meters of water! How on earth do the people survive? Little information seems to reach out.

For now central Bangkok remains dry,
but many stores around the Touristy Khao San area closed early at 6pm when normally they are open until 1am. The Book shop owner apologized when telling us that they are closing early to prepare for the flooding.

After a brief heavy rain at 6pm the skies are calm again and I am just checking to find out the high tide times to be more aware when to potentially expect wet feet or maybe wet legs..

We are still heading to Cambodia to distribute the money raised, and probably around the originally intended time schedule: early November.

just out of interest a timetable for the local tides and expected heights: (the river is framed by a permanent high flood barrier, so high tide is not necessarily a problem, still looking to learn how high the tide can be before it causes any more serious problems).

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

new links for Our Cambodia Project and additional thoughts:

I will make sure that my friends know about this although I doubt the budget will be big enough to cover all 215.662 affected families.... I will make sure to buy and share food when I am there: spending more time with local families sharing meals that the families might normally not be able to afford - I'll bring along dried or fresh fish and vegetables for example and ask to be shown how to cook traditionally khmer.

This ensures they get more nutrition than they have budget for and I learn something which I will share with.... YOU.

And the overall bill is likely still not going to exceed what the tourist cafe Le Tigre de Papier (which I ) would charge for banana pancakes, fresh juice and an espresso.... Sharing is GOOD.

(Did you notice? The heart is a link...)

from a letter I just posted (October 11th)

This is normally a private blog, but I have a few posts that I am setting
aside for trying to raise what is possible for my friends and who I find
when I arrive in Cambodia.

My specific location will be the province around Siem Reap. While this
is very close to Angkor Wat the poverty just 45 minutes out of the small
town Siem Reap is clearly visible. I have been to India, too, I have seen
poverty in more than these two countries, and I know the needs are enormous
but I always feel that if the majority of people believed in small changes and
acted in small ways, rather than capitulate, then unbelievably huge changes
could happen. Sadly it seems inspiration and hope are a poverty affecting
too many of those whose small support would make such a great impact once

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Flooding in Cambodia, my friend lost his Rice crop, can we help?

This is what it looks like in the area where my friend Nakry lives:

He lives about one hour on a scooter away from Siem Reap, which is a major tourist hub for 4 months of the year as it is close to Angkor Wat.

For today I'll just cut and paste from my facebook posts, I'll tidy this post up later in the week. But I just wanted to begin to bring all the information into one place, easy to reference:


I have a friend in Cambodia whom I would like to help. His rice crop is lost in the current flooding near Angkor Wat. He and his parents rely on the extra food this crop would have brought them. I've visited him in 2006 and they are really very, very poor. Would you support me in this?

I am not sure what exact cost help will be. Obviously the more I can raise the more lasting an impact we are likely to make. But small help can be big help. I have a total of 3 friends whom I would like to help out. I am thinking the cost of some bags of rice and dried fish to tie them over to the next opportunity crop (I hope he gets two crops a year), and a couple of goats to support him. (goats are very hardy and get ill rarely, they meat is valuable but can also be used for milk) . Nakry (my friend's name) and his family are pretty malnourished (stunted growth).

Another friend is a little boy whose family are also pretty poor, if I can find him I would like to exchange language lessons for a couple of goats. Trade not Aid... But I would need help with the goats, effectively needing your aid to help these lovely people out.

What can you do? As little as $15 / £10 could make a huge difference. If I can find 10 of you to help me with that then that would mean a lot of rice. I don't know the price of a goat. But it would be fantastic if money could stretch. I will supply you with photographs and feedback. What do you think?

Even $5 / £5 will be VERY appreciated and WILL make a change as they will accumulatively make up a bigger sum of funding.

Flooding is ruining people's limited resources to help themselves. I would hope someone would help us out if this happened to us. Every penny would go directly to support!


my personal fundraising for personal reasons is 100% separate to this. This Fund is ONLY for these friends to help them stretch through to the next harvest without becoming even more malnourished


that's great. Thank you for supporting my mini NGO effort. I'll try and work out how to send the correct paypal details. Other option is bank transfer/ cheque. Which will be cost free... A dollar save is have a baby chicken if I find a good deal.

I am just cutting and pasting the below text in from the last friend who is participating in the chicken/ goat / rice - tie over till the next harvest project..

SO far you are person 2 to get in touch but I think I'll find a bunch more before I go. And it's never too late to participate, in case someone expresses interest after I've set off. I am arranging online banking, so I'll know what I've got available.
so here it goes:


Bank details:

Birgit Deubner
account number: please contact me and I'll forward it to you.
sort code:
account holding branch:

For a postal order to arrive by monday 10th 2011
my address
please contact me

I'll post photographs and a description by e-mail and blog when I get to Cambodia.

I have readjusted my plan and will ask one of my friends - Nakry-, whose english is very good- to put in a certain number of hours sharing basic literary skills in Khmer (priority) and English (secondary) with a group of local girls. I'll sit in for the Khmer lessons. That way it'll help strengthen the girls position. Educated girls even at basic level are much elss likely to fall prey to trafficking.

Nakry lives an hour outside Siem Reap, which is very touristy as it's the Tourist Hot Spot for Angkor Wat, but where he lives poverty is pretty visible and the benefit of tourism not much felt. Just the basic alphabet and some writing exercises in Khmer with the most rudimentary introduction to English will give the girls a little buffer protection and will improve their social standing, too.

In return I pay in goats or if not enough money or otherwise chicken and rooster (on feedback with local NGO organization if advised against goat - goat are pretty destructive, will get best advice when there, have been before and know a few active organizations who will help make the best decisions).

The other 2 friends: I will see what's most appropriate and how best to initiate a trade exchange deal with them.

Trade not Aid... To make sure the most benefit is had from our small support project.

More about this when I reach. In about 4-5 weeks.
lots of love.

Warmest hugs for the support.

And just to give you an idea that small help can actually be big help:

Chicken, chicklettes - what are they called? Baby chicken... should be available from a 2-4 dollar each (I've seen very cheap prices at $1 each, but they are for bulk buys of 1000 chicken babies, I assume individually bought ones up to just 10-20 will be more expensive).

I want to source chicks that are most likely to thrive and ideally are not full of chemicals to start with. I haven't established the cost of a rooster yet. I imagine much more. And some
chicken appropriate food should not be too much.

I have a total of 3 friends I would like to help out to stretch through to the next harvest. I'll post a blog post soon with more details. Please contact me if you would like to help out. A small help can be a big help.

Every penny that reaches me will benefit my friends and their families 100%. I would hope that someone would help us out if we relied on our crops and lost them..

I can give you bank details or paypal details, the catch with paypal is that they will charge a fee for using them. That's entirely up to you.

THis is what my friend Nakry Looks like:

My other photographs were on film and I haven't scanned them in..

this is Raksa, I am concerned about her family, also