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14 Aug 2002


It's always a pleasure to be invited into someone's home. Last Sunday we took Rith and his family back to their village about twenty-five kilometres from Phnom Penh. There were so many of us in the car that he had to sit with me in the front - just as well there are no traffic laws in Cambodia! The road was fine for the first few hundred metres, but as soon as we passed the Prime Minister's house on the outskirts of the city it suddenly deteriorated into the usual pot-holed nightmare. Despite this it was an interesting journey which included taking the car across the river on a very small boat. Mony, our driver, smoked a cigarette during the crossing to calm his nerves - there's no car insurance in Cambodia either! We arrived safely in Rith's village after about an hour and a half and were greeted by the rest of his family. Their house, a large but simple stilt design, has a small plot of land behind for pigs and cows and the river is just fifty meters away. We climbed a rickety set of steps and entered the main room, which has two small bedrooms sectioned off at the back and a cooking area to one side. It has electric lights, but the power only comes on late afternoons ...