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And we…are being transformed into his likeness… 2 Cor. 3:18

                                  GRIFFITH GLEANINGS JULY 2019

Globalization is a word that is often used to describe economic activity that involves countries with high production and labour costs (like Australia) accessing cheap goods from poorer developing countries that have low wages and less consideration on environmental impacts and the like. Cambodia is certainly engaging in this global economy, but it is more complicated than the fact that a Chinese company may set up a garment factory in Cambodia and employ staff to work 12 hour days, 6 days per week for 80 cents Australian per hour, so you can walk into K-mart and pick up a $5 t-shirt. You might be wondering why we have spelt globalization with a ‘z’ and not an ‘s’, but hey, that’s another example of globalization! Globalization affects how Khmer people see the world on their smart phone through Facebook and YouTube; the American rap songs that teach the Khmer children new swear words and expressions like “oh my god”; the pull of urbanisation that sees families separated and uprooted from their rural rice farm to sleep under a tarpaulin and carry bricks at a building site in a big city. Forests have given away to cassava fields for Asian noodles, foreign owned rubber plantations and sugar cane is expanding and Chinese cotton varieties are being tested.

The merging of world economies and culture is also influencing the village where we live outside the city of Siem Reap. The rice fields and vegetable gardens are disappearing as new streets, houses and businesses appear in their place and the city seems to be swallowing the countryside around it. For more than 20 years in our village, locals have shopped in one compact traditional market. When you don’t own a refrigerator, the local market is the place to go every day to purchase fresh supplies. The walkways between stalls of vegetable, fish and household items like shampoo sachets used to get rather muddy every time it rained, but it has been the beating heart of ‘Phum Chreav’ (Chreav village) for as long as many locals can remember. This market is where Deb visits daily, but in recent weeks it has been demolished and replaced temporarily around the corner, split in two. The old site has been excavated and there is plans for a double story facility with an underground car park can you believe? The impact of these changes has been dramatic for our local friends. Some stall holders who have shared a space with a relative for years have been separated while others have scattered to another street. There is now a busy dirt road dividing what was once a tight knit market community. There have been many changes and challenges for this village from one impact of urbanisation. Some feel their livelihoods have been held in the balance. But for some sellers they have experienced new customers and spaces for new sellers has allowed the market to expand. Globalization is not just a threat, there will be opportunities and some of Cambodia will never become like America, China, or Australia. Just this week one prominent Khmer politician encouraged families to have at least 5 children each. It is a privilege that we are able to share life with our friends and neighbours, as they deal with their fears and hopes for the future. 

Old Market of over twenty years
Old village market on the day everyone left.
New market same friends selling vegetables
Our Khmer friends set up their vegetable display in new settings not sure what will happen next.
For our team retreat building into and onto our relationships.
For safe travel of all recent visitors to and from Cambodia.
Grateful for answers to prayer for health and well being across the team.
For fruitfulness with language, cultural learning and building relationships.
For substantial rain for wet season rice crops that are currently struggling to survive.
For team family units with children who have 7-8 weeks ‘summer holiday’ from school, and some are balancing language and culture learning and some family holidays.