Mini-breakthrough on my microfinance research but less success with keeping my exercising schedule
17.12.2012 - 18.12.2012 34 °C
Even though I have only been properly working for three days, getting up on Monday morning after a super chilled weekend was a major drag. Fortunately for me and in contrast to some other volunteers, my work is actually interesting so once I got through the waking-up stage, it got a bit better. Still, despite such a short time, it already feels as if I have never had a time off.
The good news is that new week brought new developments in my research. My determination has paid off and the Cambodian Microfinance Association finally provided me with a comprehensive spreadsheet of C-level contacts in all notable Cambodian MFIs. Result! Handing in the first draft of my first deliverable for inspection, I celebrated this breakthrough by emailing all the MFIs I already contacted by haven’t heard from, but this time going straight to the CEOs.
Slowly getting to know the area around my work, Rachel (a US girl working for the same company but on a proper contract) took me for lunch to a nearby café with lovely local foods and delicious ice coffee. The only downside was the 10 minutes walk along a busy road with temperature nearing 35 degrees and direct sun making every step a challenge. Still, we made it and it was delish.
I even had some first responses to my research interview requests when I got back, so happiness all around. Another interview firmly in my calendar and a follow-up call planned for next week, which leaves me with other 5ish interviews I need to get to make the sample nicely juicy.
The thing about working is that your days slip into a routine and so in comparison to the previous days in Phnom Penh and surrounding area, my weekdays tend to bubble along without major excitements. Still, it is nice to come back to the guest house at the end of the day and have plenty of people to chat to. Having said that, some of the people who arrived same time as me have left now, with new faces doted around the guest house. But again, new people to chat to and get to know is always good.
With Tuesday being my ‘sports day’, I packed my shorts and top and set off towards work, with the view that I either make it back to the guest house to get changed after work or cycle straight to the studio. Having a lovely lunch with work people, with conversation mainly in Khmer, made a nice break into the day.
I attempted to top up the experience by getting a sugar cane juice from a street seller, but despite asking three different people, none of them appeared to own the juice stand so I actually left dry. In other countries this could have been embarrassing, but not in Cambodia. Instead, each of the three people I asked met my inquiry with a stoical calm, simply shaking their head.
Now mind you, this could have also meant that they didn’t speak English, although I did make a point of violently pointing towards the sugar cane stand.
After an afternoon research into Cambodian NGOs, I was ready to get back to the guest house for a little break before my Pilates. The good thing about my job is that it needs me to learn an awful lot of stuff about microfinance and Cambodia in general, which has so far been quite fascinating.
Despite best intentions to cycle to class, lack of lights on my bike made me think otherwise. Instead, I enlisted the help of a moto taxi to deliver me safely(ish) to my spot of exercise. This would have been great, except that the teacher called in sick and would be only back on the 3rd of January after the Xmas break. Great.
With my moto guy gone and most side streets being pitch black, I made my way to the main road and strolled back to the guest house. Trying to find a positive on this disappointing endeavor, I decided that it was a great opportunity for an early dinner and so upon my arrival, I surprised the guest house staff by ordering a new dish from the menu. That’s right, I do eat other things than vegetables with rice or noodles.