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Cambodian adventure

September 20, 2010

For the past two weeks I have been in Cambodia working on my little project here. I started the Human Capital Project (HCP) back in 2007 as a non-profit organisation that provides “personal equity” finance for poor rural students so that they can go to university. Every year around September I treck back to meet with the continuing students and interview new applicants.

But these trips are also a good opportunity for me to do some reading, exploring, thinking and life planning. Yesterday (Sunday 19/09) I managed to finally get over to Kratie to see the rare Irrawaddy freshwater dolphins and on Friday (24/09) I’ll be playing a game of soccer for a team that is in the national 3rd division. I’ve enjoyed exploring maths, philosophy and art with Hofstadter and read economic papers by Fischer and Potts.

Travelling is also good for my soul. My “wandering years” (2005-08) are behind me now, but it’s still good to get away from the computer and current affairs and routine and the usual crowd, and have more time for my mind to wander.

But it will also be good to get home. The week after I get back I will join my parents, Karen & Ash on a trip to NZ to celebrate my mum’s 60th birthday, and then I’ll go straight over to Sydney for the Mont Pelerin Society meeting and to catch up with friends.

  1. TerjeP
    September 24, 2010 at 3:07 am

    Do you have any graduates from the program yet who are putting cash back into the scheme?

  2. September 25, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Just started this month. Our first graduate is a young woman from Battambang called Nhim Chamnan. While HCP has only been going for three years, she began the project in her 2nd year of university and so she has recently finished her final exams (degree are all four years). She still needs to defend her thesis, but she has started working already.

    She is working for Vision Fund, which is the micro-financing arm of World Vision. Her income is $150/month (which is quite good for a young graduate in BB) and so she is paying $15/month into our account in Cambodia.

  3. TerjeP
    September 25, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    What was her degree in?

    What is $150 adjusted for PPP?

  4. September 26, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Her degree was in Banking & Finance, and her thesis was on micro-finance. I’m not sure about PPP, but $150 is a good wage for a graduate. The average wage is below $100/month and a builder, rural school teacher or moto-taxi might get between $30 and $60 per month.

    I made a mistake above. Chamnan has chosen to pay 20% of her income (for half the amount of time) and so she’s paying $30/month.

  5. TerjeP
    September 27, 2010 at 2:16 am

    I’d be a god king if I took my wealth to Cambodia. Is land cheap?

  6. September 28, 2010 at 2:06 am

    Depends where you buy it. The land in inner Phnom Penh is starting to get a bit pricey (>$100,000), but a friend recently bought a little house & land package on the outskirts of Kampong Cham for $10,000.

  7. September 29, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Pics of graduate?

  8. September 30, 2010 at 4:14 am
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