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Archive for November, 2009

T-Day

November 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

I hope everyone is doing well. I am on my way to Kampot, the province to the south of my own. The volunteers from my own province and myself are heading down there to do some Peace Corps mandated language training. I believe they are also giving us this opportunity because they know it is our first real holiday here and away from home, and it is best for us to be with our peers, or at least some friendly foreigners.

I am having a Thanksgiving meal at the house of a married couple who live close to the town of Kampot, just outside of it in Kampong Trach. They have invited us all down there, and asked that we BYOB. It is very nice of them to be welcoming like that and open their home us to the crowd that is going to show up. I think I sorely need this vacation. Most of the other volunteers have had some opportunity to go somewhere new here, while myself and the other volunteers in Takeo province have not been so lucky, as we are in the Training site and really everything we do has little to no novelty involved with it.

Again, I hope everyone has a good turkey day, and I will be thinking of all of you. Matt, I love you cuzzo, keep your head up.

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Categories: peace corps

Life… and stuff

November 25, 2009 Leave a comment

So lets talk about the reasons why I decided to join the Peace Corps. I wanted to do something different with my life. Everyone wants to be different and talks about it, but they never really make any decisions that impact that claim. It really just remains a claim. I needed to leave San Diego, and in many ways, the life and culture behind. There are many times when I just feel like I belong in a different time. When people believe in themselves and their words, and stuck to them. I needed a change in scenery, to see that it was possible that people lead their lives with different attitudes towards themselves and to each other, and how they went about pursuing this. Admittedly, that is all a bit far fetched, and I am here with other people from the US who really are not all that different from the culture I left behind. I just continue to get caught up with it though, and I really need to strive to see things differently and learn on my own to be part of that change. I wanted to come here and help people, and give them a chance to learn things from someone who wanted to be patient with them like I have been lucky to have in my life. Give where others have been so kind to give to me. This whole experience will include a lot of learning for me, and I need to remain open to embrace it, because really this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am loving it so far. In reality I can do so much more though.

On a final note… I need to remember to trust my instincts a lot more, and with that, believe in myself and have confidence in myself and my own decisions, instead of letting others make them for me. Tough times dont last, tough people do.

Categories: peace corps

Still Here, Yes Believe It

November 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Hey All,

I am doing well here. The past two weeks have been quite hectic for me. I had my site visit, which means my boss from the Peace Corps office came down and had a look see at what I am doing to keep busy. For the most part, my life goes on here unchecked and doing my job is really entirely in my hands, so obviously that is a good and bad thing because I dont have anyone to really push me, aside from myself. So a lot of self-motivation is going on. My site visit went well though. Where I am, I dont have the problems that many other people do. Some people have issues with school administration not being fully supportive or cooperative of what a Peace Corps Volunteer is here to do, a problem I dont have. In fact, I almost have the opposite issue, too much support. I have two basketball teams, one boys and one girls, and I have so many interested in playing that I am going to have to make cuts, and the school has told me that they will provide uniforms and shoes for the players I deem qualified to play for the school. So yeah, I would think thats self-explanatory.

Additionally, the economical downturn has hit even Cambodia. Many volunteers have families that want more money for having a volunteer in their home, typically manifesting itself by the families asking the volunteers for money, making an awkward situation because in reality its not up to us. Again, not a problem I have. My family has never spoken of money and I dont forsee any issues coming, but also I will never know.

I had my teams scrimmage each other yesterday. It was interesting to see. I know I still have a lot of work to do, is one way to put it. Its hard to really explain the precise rules of the game to the kids, because my grasp on the language is not what one could call fluent. They were running around not exactly dribbling, and more bobbing and weaving with the ball to protect it. The good news is that they are making progress, even if its not as much as I would like it was still good to see them excited about being out there.

In some different news, I have started a blog and added some new pictures to my collection. The blog is here and as always the pictures are here. Feel free to share my blogsite with anyone you would like. It is an important part of Peace Corps to share the experience I am having here, in order for people to get a better understanding. Also, I backlogged all of the emails I have sent out on that same website, so anyone can catch up with me if they want. Hope everyone is doing well. Talk to you again soon. Adios.

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Categories: peace corps

More Fun in Cambo

November 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Since I slacked off the week before, I am giving a second update within a week of the last one. Miraculous I know, or maybe I have just not been feeling so well due to an ongoing sinus infection. I started with an antibiotic treatment however and at least believe that I am feeling better already. Anyway, something I forgot to add to my last update. During the beginning of my coaching, I decided to show the kids that I could dunk (or at least what it kind of looks like) and broke one of the two rims that I have at school. That was an interesting way to start practice, and I had to go have it welded back on. So for a good part of a week, I had to practice with one rim and one ball, and 20 plus kids. Anyway, they are still getting the hang of things, but I need to crank it up a bit and make the kids work.

Another reason for my additional message is I am posting more photos up on my facebook account. Nothing too special though, but you will have to go take a look to find out what it looks like to live a day in my life. I am also going to add a link to the area of the country where I live, so you can find my province (link). So if you look closely, I am in Takeo Province. Start there, and then you can actually see Ang Tasom, right on the corner next to Kampot, and I am on highway 3. There are volunteers in svay rieng, prey veng, takeo, kampot, kandal now, kampong cham, kampong chnnang, pursat, kampong thom, siem reap, battambang, and banteay meanchey. i think thats all of it. anyway, my spot is not bad, but it could also be better.

take care everyone. get back to me.

food

Categories: peace corps

Long Time No See…

November 1, 2009 Leave a comment

So it has been a while since I have given everybody an update. My reasoning for the lack of communication is simple, my life is much slower now and theres not so much to update on. I have small hurdles here and there, but overall my schedule really is not what is was like during training, where I was busy all the time. Thats not to say that I am not busy, its just a different kind of busy and less interesting. I have been contemplating whether or not I will be starting a blog sometime in the near future, and the answer is that I will. I will be backlogging all of the emails I have already sent everyone and once I actually get it up and running, feel free to share it with people you know or that would be interested. The reason I am deciding to do this is because I know I have somewhat reliable internet access, and before I left I was quite unsure if that was going to be something I would have. Now that I know, I will begin to blog, and if anyone has any good blogging websites for amateurs or recommendations, let me know because I am clueless.

Anyway, about a week ago I got sick here for the first time. I have yet to isolate the actual reason for my sickness because it keeps shifting around and around. I feel like it was the stale m&ms that I ate, but in reality, I am living in Cambodia and it could have been a multitude of things, like the beer I choose to wash the m&ms down with. The night I ate those things, I began feeling groggy, I just went to sleep early because I thought that would be the best medicine. I woke up feeling worse, and wound up spending the entire day in bed. My body was aching and I thought I had some sort of mosquito borne virus, probably dengue from how I was feeling. So the next day I felt significantly better, but I also had different symptoms. Instead of the body-aching, I had a more general cold, stuffy nose, headache, but not much a fever. My symptoms subsided soon after that, but I have been struggling to get close to 100% ever since. In reality, that is no different than it would be if I was back home and got sick though, so I am not stressing it too much. Plus, I am fairly well taken care of here, we have a doctor who is available to us 24/7, and even though she might not be terrible close by, we can at least get Cambodia specific health advice whenever we are under the weather. My host family obviously also noticed that I was not feeling well, and they took care of me. They fed me whatever I wanted and whatever I requested that I believed would help me get healthy and were generally kind and understanding of my situation.

After the weather had prevented me from doing so since my last update, I have been able to really get the ball rolling, I guess not only figuratively, with the two basketball teams I will be coaching at my school. I have both a girls team and a boys team, and right now I have a total of 44 students who attend my practices regularly. Sometime by the end of November, I will have whittled my way down to only 12 girls and 12 boys for each team, as that is the number I can take to compete at the provincial level and national level tournaments. At this time, I practice with each group twice a week, an hour each time. I wont be cutting anyone, but I will form a club with the residual members that dont make the team, and those students will either show up for club day to continue learning, or I will be able to move on and just coach my teams. We will see how it goes. I am in a positive and negative situation when it comes to coaching basketball. The volunteer who was there before me, you know, only took his team to the national tournament and wound up getting third place. So when it comes to basketball, coaching at my school comes with somewhat lofty expectations, but well see, I can only do my best and hope that its more than the other guy did, or just hope that I wind up facing worse competition. One of the two.

Thats all for this update. I hope everyone is well and had a good Halloween. There is no Halloween here, but there is a different holiday (I was told that Cambodia has 24 official holidays by the way, which is a lot more then the U.S., which has somewhere between 7-9, I dont know) this weekend and I went into my provincial town to unwind for a bit. Having a job where I am working as a representative of the U.S. pretty much all day everyday, does get old eventually and there is a need to escape that every once in a while. So this was a good weekend to do that, but I am recovering from being sick and dont have any desire to party too hard, but it was still nice to get away for two days. If anyone ever wants to ask me questions, feel free to respond back to me in email form or whatever. I will get back to you as soon as I can. Love you all and take care.

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Categories: peace corps