A note from Beth Kanter, a friend since 2004: the digital dot

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Beth Kanter at Joma Bakery Café

Posted date: May 22, 2016

Yesterday I had a wonderful day with Tharum Bun and his family, meeting his wife, children, and in-laws and seeing his home and neighborhood.

I first “met” Tharum in 2004 when he left a comment on my blog announcing why I had stopped blogging for a few months. I had just adopted my daughter, Sara, and Tharum wished her peace and happiness.

I was excited to learn that there were bloggers from Cambodia because I was the Cambodia bridge blogger for Global Voices. Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon co-founders, asked which of the Cambodia bloggers might be good to sponsor for the London Global Summit and I suggested Tharum.

I met Tharum for the first time in London 2005. We have kept in touch over the past 13 years and I have followed his career working as a communications officer for NGOs in Cambodia. He also reached out to me for the 2007 Cambodian Bloggers conference and I ended up being the first person on Twitter to raise money for the conference and come over and teach. (cc: Shel Israel)
He met my children and husband in 2012 when we have a Cambodian Blogger reunion here in Phnom Penh. cc: John Weeks Chak Sopheap Chantra Be)

He is working for InSTEDD and in 2015 he came over for a team meeting and I hosted him at my house.

Yesterday was fantastic opportunity to see what life is like in a neighborhood where a lot of working professionals live outside of Phnom Penh — it is an up and coming neighborhood – sort of like Brooklyn.

Tharum picked me up with his son, Tom. Tom is 4 years old and he was wearing the Stanford T-Shirt I gave him! Tom is attending an American school – an english speaking school where the curriculum is based on play and creativity. Tom spoke perfect, fluent English or a four year old. I was floored. He is also very smart and obviously his mother and father encourage him and are good parents.

Tharum has a daughter too, her name is Sophie. She is very active and friendly – and also picking up a few english words already.

We walked around his neighborhood which is basically Cambodian style town houses. The neighborhood has a mall, with coffee shop – Brown and a cinema. We had coffee at a Laotian Coffee shop.

It is very gratifying to watch Tharum Bun in his NGO and communications career and his family over the years. One would never think that you could develop strong relationships from connecting through social media – but you can.

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