Maybe I should join the bandwagon-- and move to Cambodia

So it's day two for me in Cambodia, and it's been great, minus the countless bug bites, falls and near death experiences involving biking around town-- drivers are scary here. I saw a tuk crash into a food cart, there were bowls flying everywhere.

But on other news, HT has a new office, it's across the river. Which is pretty awesome, it's a house... with a pool.

I also got to go to the site today for the first time with Chai. Let me say, pictures don't do it justice. I don't think it really hits you how much this project has helped people till you see all the homes being serviced through this reservoir. But, we drove around the embankment and saw the trees that were planted during the 'tree planting ceremony', collected measurements at the monitoring wells, and took lots of pictures. Other things we checked out was The Vetiver Nursery that will be underway in the next day or two, because everyone had the week off for the recent holidays. And the bamboo is also ready to be used as a 'fence' to keep the fish from getting out of the reservoir.

Lunch with Maria and Bryse.


Passing the Umbrella...ella...ella!

Drumroll please! It is with great pleasure that I announce the newest Cambodia Project Team member to join the ranks of Project Lead.... Matt Bussmann!

Yes folks, the time has come again to pass the proverbial torch on to the next Team Lead. Only this time we're passing... an umbrella? Why the umbrella, you may ask? Firstly, the neighborhood establishment where many team meetings are held wasn't too excited about our idea of bringing a lit torch inside for the photo-opportunity. Secondly (and more truthfully) it happened to be raining that day.

In all seriousness, an umbrella was a great item to use for this occasion, handing off Project Lead to our veteran team member, Matt. In Oriental tradition, the umbrella symbolizes a shield of protection over the bearer from inclement weather and the hottest heat from the sun. The next few months are a time of transition for the Cambodia Project on a large scale. Farmer Water User Communities (management groups) are in the process of being formed, and the Baseline Assessment will kick off in the months of October - December. In early 2010, HT will start transfering the dam operations and maintenance over to the farmer management communities. In this time of transition within the project team and the project, I hope that the umbrella will live up to its symbolic status. And, for all those familiar with Cambodia, a little shade from the sun is never a bad thing :)
Good luck to Matt and our team in the coming months!


Vetiver: At Home

Santa Barbara, California

The use of vetiver grass is most common in tropical countries, however there are case studies of its use in California and the US Gulf states as a slope stabilizer. Its use in California's Santa Barbara foothills has been mainly to stabilize slopes in areas highly prone to wildfire. Vetiver typically survives wildfires and has a quick regrowth time after a fire (3 weeks in some cases), making it ideal vegetation to reduce erosion, stabilize steep slopes, and to prevent the subsequent mudslides that typically follow on slopes stripped by wildfire.

Although its use is not widespread in the US, this could be a cost efficient, environmentally friendly method to help reduce the impact of natural disasters on community members in hurricane and wildfire regions.

To read more, check out www.vetiver.org. (Source of picture: www.vetiver.org)