Nails are commonly straightened for re-use, and I posted a photo recently of a mother doing just that with a toddler at her back.
Have you ever seen supports for new floors made of crudely shaped tree trunks? No? Well, have a look at the photo below for an instance of them a block from my apartment; their repeated rental looks to me like a big business.
This is a society in which they find ways to salvage almost anything for its original or new purpose. I noticed a street-corner mechanic the other day restoring a slightly crumpled soda can with its top and bottom removed for a reason that eludes me.
Like more developed countries, the populace finds a way to rejuvenate or repurpose all manner of items. Nothing with as little as 5 per cent of its life left goes on the trash heap. Or, if it does, someone will retrieve it. “Waste” invariably is a five-letter word among the world’s poor.
But here the quality is questionable of what passes for junk elsewhere after repeated recycling. Such is the case for motorbikes, water bottles, cars, computers or household appliances, among other items.
On roadsides, you often will come across the sale of gasoline that is poured from old soda bottles into motos, battered fencing trundled from construction site to construction site and bicycles long past their prime somehow able to accommodate a rider or two or even three.
Cambodia is not unlike any poor nation, but the gap between what is thrown away in worlds without want and those with endless need yawns achingly.
Below are some examples that I snapped as I strolled around Phnom Penh.