We traveled to Koh Rong to become dive certified in the first three days and work with the village in the next seven to build toilets, clean up trash, and teach the kids English. Despite stormy weather and a serious virus that spread through our ranks (and two of our number leaving the trip), those who stayed came out on top with what was certainly the most memorable experiences of the trip. We really got to know the people of Koh Rong and I hope the future tourist industry will treat them with the kindness and respect they showed us.
The only way on or off the island is that white ferry you see at the end of the pier. This pier is also home to the Dive Shop, which is where we stayed for ten days in bunk beds.
Many of the villagers were kept busy each day cleaning out the nets of the Sihanoukville fishermen who dock on Koh Rong.
The Cambodian work day is far shorter than our own; much of their days were spent drinking and gambling.
A village woman removing dead seafloor life from one of the fishing nets they clean each day. The waste is thrown into a nearby putrid stream that carries it back into the ocean.
One of the children outside the schoolhouse. They were all very excited and interested in using the camera.
From left, Mr. Sroi the builder we hired to help plan the toilets, the village mayor (also the only one in the village with a belly), and Davi a Dive Shop employee and our interpreter.
A few of the children fishing at the end of the pier. They caught four in the twenty minutes I stood there watching.
A baby sits on his mother's shoulder as she watches a game of Bingo.
Two of the amazing children we taught each day. Each child has only one set of clothes that they wear each day, but obviously that still allowed for a bit of creativity.
To the left is the beginnings of the structure that will enclose the toilets; the tanks have already been buried. The smoke is coming from the village's incinerator, just visible at right.