Home delivery, Cambodian style. Most people buy enough food for today – often out of financial necessity or due to a lack of refrigeration – and a daily cart winding its way through the streets enables these women to shop in front of their homes and saves them a trip to the local market.
The vegetables are fresh and crisp, an abundance of green leaf spilling over cart edges with splashes of tomato red, carrot orange, onion brown. Plastic bags dangle, holding the overflow – long pale mushrooms, snaking long green beans, bright hot chillis, flavour filled condiments and spicy tingly sauces.
And meat lies in the timber tray, selected and cut and weighed by this beautiful lady.
On this ordinary morning she and her customers were slightly bemused that I would want to take photos of them doing the ordinary, the everyday. Shy that them living their days was photo-worthy.
There is beauty in the details of life. Beauty that is not contained or constrained by our familiar narrow definition of the word, but rather beauty in the ordinary that can be seen through eyes that choose to linger and slow and wonder, appreciate and notice and capture.
Because life itself is beautiful.
[detail: I took these photos just around the corner from our home, and as you can see, we live very close to New York City. That’s right, Cambodia has its very own New York City. It’s a recent housing development down a street which was once muddy and rocky and narrow and is now smooth and widely concreted. A street that takes you past small timber houses into a gated community of western style rendered brick houses standing neatly around a small green common space. All around this city those who are financially poor live on the doorstep of those who are financially rich.
Cambodians generally aspire to certain aspects of western culture, particularly US culture, so it was no surprise when the name New York City was unveiled. The growing private education sector is prolific in its claim on international educational institutions, with small schools boasting names such as ‘Cambridge Harvard International School’, and ‘New York International School’. Some of our personal favourites are ‘The Ingenious Pencil School’, ‘American Idol School’ and ‘Angry Birds International School’. Yes, life is beautiful. And sometimes life just makes you smile.]