Displaced Yankee Productions | Deep Fried Larva

Deep Fried Larva

While strolling through the market to buy Art some shoes, we came across a small fried food stand. My DP is almost always hungry and I glanced down to see what fare was being offered. There were four large tubs of deep fried larva, cockroaches, grasshoppers and beetles. Art decided he wasn’t that hungry but encouraged me to give it a shot. “I’ll give you five bucks,” he urged. Until he gets up to the $50,000 Fear Factor is offering, there’s not a chance. Besides, I had my fill of risk earlier. We loaded all the camera gear into the wicked tiny elevator. The button didn’t seem to be working so Art stepped off for a moment to check things out. Suddenly the doors closed, lurched up about a floor and then the elevator clanked to a stop and went completely dark. I was fairly certain this piece of crap elevator was going to plunge to the basement with me in it. Plus it was stifling hot there in the dark. Since I am writing this, obviously the power came back on and I got out, but it was a long few minutes in the dark contemplating what was going on.
After spending a few hours at CCF this morning interviewing Scott Neeson, the executive director, my crew, Scott, John, Brittany and Cynthia Daniel all piled into two trucks for the long ride to the relocation camp to visit the families there. These are all families that have been gathered up out of the slums by the government and driven far out of the city, where they are simply dropped off with no resources. The government has given their slum land to developers to build expensive condos for officials and other wealthy individuals. The unfortunate previous tenants are now gathered in a large refugee camp. They have nowhere else to go and no way work to provide for themselves. So they sit and wait there for the government to dole out little parcels of land on the empty plots that measure around 12×12. Just enough to build a shelter, but not enough to plant anything and make it sustainable, even if crops would grow in the wasteland they’ve been given.
We pull up to a sea of make shift tents stretching far back. We are besieged with people as soon as we disembark. They are desperate, sick and starving. There is no food or medical care. We meet a young woman who broke her wrist in a compound fracture. Left untreated it is now infected with gangrene and must be amputated. A desperate woman pulls on my sleeve. The rains came down heavy last night and flooded the camp. Something that has been happening regularly the last few weeks and the results are horrifying. Her feet are rotting on the bottom and side and infected. These people can’t get out of the water when in rains. The shelters have make shift tarps for roofs and sit right on the ground. Many have not eaten in days. There are hundreds of people crying, begging, pleading for some type of aid. Nearby in a tent is a young woman. During the rain last night, she gave birth to a son in this unsanitary haven. He sleeps on the ground wrapped in a shirt. We gather to look at this sleeping innocence. His mother is ill and most likely developing an infection. She wants us to take the baby with us. Rains are coming again and there is no protection for the baby.
Another aid organization has been through and promised the people there plates. Which would be lovely if they actually had food to put on them. The one small beacon of light is the large fresh water portable tanks UNICEF has trucked out here for the community. The Church of Latter Day Saints is there setting people up on pallet beds so they are off the ground. All the aid is coming from non-profits. These people have been abandoned by their government and left to rot and ruin here. As we drive away with three youngsters tucked in the back of Scott’s truck to take back to the shelter, we pass a government party sign. It reads “Cambodian Peoples Party”
They are nothing of the sort.
(side blog)
Fun Food Fare:
Otherwise titled: never let your Cambodian Sound Man pick the restaurants.
You know, when Theresa and I were here, we were not the most adventurous food experimenters. Rightly so, we were quite worried about the lack of sanitation and pure water. Now that she has left me to my own devices, I am at the mercy of my adventurous Chinese DP and my Cambodian soundman. After barely escaping the fried tarantulas on the menu last night, we sat down this evening to a heaping plate of baby sparrow in Cambodian lime sauce. Heads, beaks and all. John commented that they tasted a lot like liver. That was probably because we were EATING the liver, as well as the heart, brains, beak, eyes, etc. I took one back to the hotel to take a picture. Then it is going directly in the trash. Somehow I don’t think I’ll ever have a craving THAT bad in the middle of the night.

 
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