Archive for January, 2011

Good News!

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Hey All,

Lets get right into the good news! After close to two months of waiting the money for my school project has finally been transferred to my bank here AND I was able to withdraw it. I can finally pay the laborers and pay for the doors and windows. Not sure how that would have gone over in the States if I wasnt able to pay for almost three weeks worth of work ahead of time, but it still happened. I am very happy with the progress they have made and the building looks amazing. Once it is done I will post all of the pictures I have been amassing since work begun. Speaking of pictures, I have uploaded some newbies to my lastest Cambodia album. Also in that album there are probably others you might have missed out on from a different upload of mine. Enjoy!

I recently just sat down and wrote down what my February is going to look like, and I am going to be quite busy running around for most of the month. I am going to be taking my basketball girls down to the province south of me for a scrimmage and then a surprise trip to the beach. I am going to be visiting in my village by my Peace Corps Country director as well as a small contigent of people from our office in D.C. near the beginning of the month. Also, I will be working on multiple projects that are going to require me to meet up with other volunteers for coordination purposes. Aside from that, I will also be watching the Superbowl somewhere here as well as celebrating Chinese New Year the first week of the month. Busy bee!

I recently booked a flight to visit Bali in late April. I am going with my friend JaNise however I will be staying on my own a few days longer than she will be there. Can’t wait to mess around on a surfboard for the first time in 21 months! Never thought I would miss it so much but I do, its really hard to replace the sensation from having an awesome time paddling out. I recently went to the capital to get some dental work done and decided I needed to go play basketball at the local courts in town. Wound up playing against a team with two guys who play for the Cambodian national team. They were good, but I hung with them quite well, especially after only having played truely competitive basketball once in the previous ten months and being out of shape. Even won two of the four games I played against them. Following the games I overheard them calling me a “foreign horse”, I was amused.

Everything else is going good. I am still working hard to get the things done I want to before leaving. Everyone at my school now has deferred to calling me “Coach” now because my team does. Thats all good and fun but they dont pronounce quite right and it often comes out closer to “coit”, which in Khmer means “broken” and is a highly derrogatory word. So thats a fun thing to police just for a nickname and to make sure they all know what theyre saying.

When I was sick a few weeks back, I lost a good amount of weight because I had no appetite. Also, I managed to go through a lot of my stored up DVD/TV series collection. I thought you all might find it interesting to know what I have managed to watch since being here, so heres a quick rundown:

– The Sopranos
– The Wire
– Arrested Development (seasons 1-2)
– 30 Rock
– Generation Kill
– Curb Your Enthusiasm
– Seinfeld
– South Park (1-12)
– OZ
– NCIS (1-6)
– Law and Order SVU (1-2)
– Flight of the Conchords (1)
– Band of Brothers
– Dexter (2-4)

I think there are a couple more I am forgetting, but I have Lost, Chappelle Show, Planet Earth, and Entourage to get through in the future. As usual I hope everyone is alive and well as I still am. They officially moved my day of departure up to July 12th, so I can leave after that but not before it. However I still plan on traveling some more once I finally finish working, just to get it all out of my system. Take care people!

– Ryan

Categories: peace corps

2011 Here I am!

January 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Hey Everyone,

It feels good to be in year 2011 knowing that this is the year that I get to come home! That sounds crazy because I still have plenty of time here, but the holiday season was really tough to get through as I have said before, but I did get through it so now I am focusing on enjoying the time that I have left here and doing the work I want to or need to before I leave. It seems like my responsibilities or duties increase every day, I guess that’s what being an adult is and it’s overrated.

Construction has just started with Youth Art and Resource Center. However, I have been sick since January 2nd and have been in bed ever since. I have not been able to watch the work at all. I think I must have come down with either Giardia or some other sort of stomach virus. My doctor finally prescribed me medication and I believe that it should help, but I do feel better than I have been. It has taken me quite some time to get “Cambodia Sick”, or a sickness that is something more than a cold, so it was probably time anyway. All this time spent wasting away in bed really sliced through my DVD collection. I still have a good amount squirreled away, but I went through a lot of good stuff. Anyway, this has also been somewhat complicated by the fact that the Peace Corps D.C. office has yet to transfer the money that we raised into an account here, but I had them start working because otherwise it might have forced me to find other laborers who could have cost more. The money will come soon, I hope, so it was just better to start than to keep waiting.

For New Years I went into Phnom Penh to celebrate with other volunteers. The night before New Years Eve I went to the embassy for a small party and wound up meeting Congresswoman Laura Richardson, who represents a district in Long Beach. Long Beach actually has the second largest population of Cambodians in the world, second to the capital Phnom Penh. She was nice and we wound up talking basketball. I showed her pictures of my girls basketball team here and she told me how she wanted to organize a women’s game with the president. She also bought me a shot of Grey Goose. After that my Peace Corps friend who joined me at the Embassy all went out to hang with the embassy marines. That was interesting because their lives are clearly very different from ours. It was also nice to ride around town in an SUV with a driver, all provided by the embassy, an upgrade from the normal tuk-tuk’s I ride in (or I walk).

On the actual New Years Eve, I didn’t do much special, but it was just nice to be out and celebrating. New Years is one of those holidays that rarely lives up to expectations because they are sky high so it was nice to just have more relaxed idea of what the night could be. We wound up at the big casino in the capital at the dance club they have there and watched fireworks, which all seemed quite unsafe because they were going off right over our heads. It was one of those things that felt like it could go wrong quickly, but it didn’t so moving on. The night ended around 3am by grabbing late night hot dogs, which sounds weird but they are delicious. I came home on New Years day to celebrate the opening of Siphen’s new home. The house is absolutely beautiful.

Hopefully everyone’s holiday seasons were good and you were all with the people you wanted to be with. I am still a little sad that I missed my niece’s first set of holidays but I am planning on making it up to her after this. Take care people, feel free to email me to let me know how are you doing too!

– Ryan

Categories: Uncategorized

Holiday Edition

January 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Hey All,

First off wanted to wish everyone Happy Holidays, especially my niece Callie who is celebrating her first Christmas with her parents, Danny and Les. Hope its a good one for her and everyone else!

I have been very busy these last few weeks, and actually really homesick for the first time in a while since being here. I think with being as busy as I have been thinking about the holidays has been a nice diversion, but then I remember I am spending my second one away from home and that makes it kind of have a sour taste. So I am just continuing to chug along because after this, I get to spend my next sets of holidays at home. Wound up celebrating my Christmas with my fellow K3 volunteers in Phnom Penh. We went out for a nicer than normal dinner and then went out and spent some time and money at a dance club. Had a good time, but not necessarily the traditional holiday celebration, more of just my normal experience in the capital. Still enjoyed myself.

Back in the village, I have been working to get my Youth Art and Resource Center project off the ground. Peace Corps hasn’t transferred the funds so I am just doing the rest of the preparation that I can before that. I am also looking to write another proposal so that I can have USAID give funds to purchase some of the materials for the building. In addition to both of those, I have purchased basketball jerseys for my girls basketball team and coach them pretty much everyday. I haven’t seen them out of those jerseys for practice since giving them up. They also asked me for nicknames so I have them all those well. Here is an album of them, kind of a team picture day if you will. I have also been working at university on my free weekends in the provincial town of Takeo. At my school I am also working to promote literacy, so I have a library program going to have each English class visit the library once a month to have them work with reading the English books we do have. I have also worked on labeling the books according to skill level so the students have an easier time finding books suitable to their level. Always something.

I finally got around to posting the video I took of when I got to “meet” Hillary Clinton. Here is the link to that. I want to thank everyone again for helping out, donating, and spreading the word about my project. I couldn’t have imagined it going smoother or working out better than it did, and everyone I know can pat themselves on the back for putting in the effort.

I am missing everyone. Cant wait for it to be 2011 because thats the year I come home. With that said, I hope everyone has a great holiday and its memorable for each and all of you. Take Care Friends and Family.

– Ryan

Categories: Uncategorized