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Archive for September, 2009

Sworn In Son…

September 26, 2009 Leave a comment

So yesterday was the big swear-in date. Before that, I was technically only a Trainee, and now I am an actual Peace Corps Volunteer. They gave us all an extra day in the capitol to get ready to be on “lockdown”, which is three months of no travel and we are stuck at our site. I dont really think it will be all that bad, but there are a lot of people here who are in much worse situations than me and its going to be hell for them. I added even more pictures from our swear-in ceremony than what I did the day the other day, so take a gander, and let me know if any of you cant access the pictures. The link is on your right.

Over the past week, I passed the language profiency test, at the unremarkable level of Novice High. That was quite stressful, probably the most stressful I have been over any test in the past five years, but I made it. Some people tested a lot higher than that, but I am ok starting at the bottom and working my way up over the next two years. After that, all the people in my training village and myself managed to throw a party for our families and our language instructors. A married couple here with us was staying in the house of a wedding caterer, so we finagled using their house and all of the chairs and tables to get things set up and we made banana pancakes, bruschetta, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with banana, and i lead a team that made carnitas tacos, with handmade flour tortillas, and two kinds of salsa. I must say, working with meat that is that fresh, and still actually quite gross, was rough. I had to cut the pig skin off the meat when I was preparing the food, dont try that at home. Anyway, it all went well, and the past few days have been a little anti-climatic, I am really just ready to move on and start doing my actual job of teaching english and coaching basketball here, I will do my celebrating when the two years is over with. Hope everyone is well and taking good care of themselves. Adios.

swearin

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Categories: peace corps

End of Week 8, Almost Done

September 17, 2009 Leave a comment

So I have one week left of training here. The past week was a bit rough on all of us, as we are in the stretch run of all of this and I know I am quite worn out. Over the past week, over half of my training village was taken on a tour of the country visiting numerous health centers and what the NGOs are doing around here to help this poor country develop. To say I am a bit jealous would be something of an understatement, but really the whole thing has been a learning experience for me as well because I think I am also better prepared to deal with adversity in my future. The past week was spent mostly studying the language for four hours a day, which also lead to me being braindead with the amount of language I feel like I am forever processing. We have a Language Profiency Interview before we can swear in next week, and if we do not pass, we are not allowed to swear in. With the amount we learn, its not really too hard to pass, but its still somewhat of a grind because of everything that is thrown at us daily. This upcoming weekend is a holiday here, and I am expecting my training host family residence to get quite crazy because the tradition here is that on holidays, the families meet at the parents house.. and my family has a total of 8 kids.. and they all mostly have their own families.. so, might be stressful but its a good cultural experience for me to say the least.

There is so much going on all the time during our training, I am looking forward to it being over and getting the reins back to my life for the rest of my time here. Its pretty crazy having a job that is really 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. My sleeping set up is reminiscent of what most would have in a tent. I woke up in the middle of last night to hear the rat thing that I have been telling myself doesnt exist fiddling around in the corner, and I proceeded to reach out of my mosquito net and throw a paper notebook I dont use at it. It settled down and didnt make as much noise after that, which was a relief because I have been telling myself that it doesnt exist since I heard it for the first time, and its not fun knowing that its there because I sleep on the floor. I think it may have rubbed or bumped into my foot one night before as well. Anyway, thats just what I deal with when I go to sleep every night. Hope everyone is well, and I am still expecting you all to send me books so that I have some assistance getting through some of the boredom that lies ahead of me. Take Care Everybody.

tuktuk

Categories: peace corps

Return from Site Visit

September 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Just wanted to fill people in on how things are going here in Cambodia. It has been a long amount of time since my last update, and there is a reason for that. I found out where my permanent site here in Cambodia will be, Tramkak, which is in Takeo Province and it also a training town, however not my own. I am staying with a family that has an assortment of kids, on a compound with four houses. I am very excited because it means an upgrade in more than a few ways, one my family seems to be a bit more entertaining than the last, and there are younger kids for me to work on my language with, which is exciting for me. Funny update as well, I told everyone how to pronounce the language name wrong when I was leaving, Khmer is actually pronounced more like k’mai. so sorry for the misunderstanding. anyway, my new family just opened up a shop that sells hamburgers, ice cream, and has internet, so im excited to help out with the family business. Overall it was a good experience and it got me fairly excited to get after it out there. My co-teacher is kind of a weirdo, or so ive heard, so i have been a little skeptical about the curious way he has been acting towards me. By weirdo, some of the other trainees had him as a practice teaching co-teacher, and they warned me about him, but other than that, i have had a fairly good time in his company, but im not sure what his intentions are for sure, anyway, i will figure that out more later.

At the end of the week, we were able to go see one of the Khmer Rouge tribunals that was going on here. It was very interesting and intense to say the least. The guy whose trial we saw is name Duch. He was responsible for the biggest prison where they interrogated and killed most of the people the regime felt would be opposed to them or smart enough to oppose them. Sitting there in the court room, looking at him, was probably the creepiest thing because he looks mostly just a normal person. The actual part of the case we were seeing what somewhat meaningless because they were only character witnesses for when he was in the country later on, hiding out and working as a teacher. Just knowing that he had a hand in killing thousands of people, and he was less than a hundred feet away from all of us, was immensely surreal.

Anyway, theres a little bit more than two weeks left of training and then we move on. Swear in is on Sept. 24, and we officially begin our service here as Volunteers. I tried to finally upload some photos, but now this fancy schmancy computer at our guest house for tonight denied my flash drive and apparently deleted some of it, so good times, life in cambodia always throws something at me. Hope eveyone is doing well and I will talk to you all soon. Please send me books if you think I would have any remote, and i repeat even remote interest in reading them, however I will most likely not be bringing them back with me, so also keep that in mind.

road

Categories: peace corps