Steung Mean Chey landfill

***Update: 17March2007
(A few people have made donations in the last few days and I will return to Phnom Penh 18March2007 to take more sandals especially small sizes for the very young children that seem very much on their own... it's one thing to be homeless, fatherless, or hungry, however, this is something very different.) Thank you Chris R and Clay O.

My second visit to the landfill in Phnom Penh revealed that although there are people and aid groups trying to assist the people, there is still much that is needed at that location. I also understand that there will be a new or additional landfill for PP. Conditions at the landfill in March 2007 are significantly better than November 2005 as the fires and smoke were minimal, air quality was not nearly as putrid as expected - in fact I removed all of my protective gear including sun glasses. Going there completely masked with a hat, sun glasses, and a face mask makes one feel very alien (and removed) in such an environment full of the most vulnerable of souls.

Witnessing the hordes of shoeless children running toward me through burning trash, broken glass, and everything else under the sun - all barefoot - was difficult at best... knowing that I had already run out of small flip flops (sandals) gave me a sinking feeling which you might equate to near complete failure on my part. If you or someone you know have knowledge of an NGO or ways of acquiring more aid please contact me.

If you ever wanted to be a part of something keep these facts in mind - I can purchase small flip flops for about .62 cents (USD) or 2500 Riel - up to about $1 USD for larger sizes... Rice is also extremely affordable at just over .25 cents per kilogram... imagine what $5.00 USD buys? 20kg of rice - or a coffee at Starbucks... it's up to you... if you want to lend a hand - on www.fotoscape.com (Giving Back) there is a link for donations.

I had several people on hand to assist with crowd control, rice dispensing, and sandal fittings, however, the crowd grew so quickly that I was unable to see the feet of the children that were so close to me... it made it hard to match correct sized sandals w/ the feet. At last the four of us were over run by the crowd which dispersed only after all of the supplies were exhausted... I managed to squeeze out and take a few photographs...

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