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Gettin work done..

Hey Everyone!

I am trying to get back on track to writing this once every few weeks, so bear with me a little. I have had two very busy weeks and my craziness hasn’t quite settled down yet. It is however nice to be so busy at times, even if I don’t get the rest I ever feel like I need. Even with the tiredness I can’t seem to get over, I just keep pushing along anyway because I have so much to do.

So as some of you may know, my girl’s basketball team won the province for the second year in a row earlier this month. I am quite proud of them and they played very well. Our first game was against Kirivong District, and we won 18-0. The second game we played was against Bati District, and we won again 20-5. The championship game was played on the opposing team’s campus, Daun Keo District, and my girls wound up winning even though they faced a hostile crowd of around 500 students. These students were not in stands or anything, but lined the court, making it tough to even inbounds the ball. The final score of that game was 11-6. Following that game, a small skirmish broke out when a boy in the crowd threw a water bottle at one of my girls. Of all the girls to throw at, it was the wrong one as this one has quite the attitude at times and she responded by kicking a water bottle in the direction of the team we had just beaten. Flying bottles ensued and I chased my girls off the court so no further interactions could happen. The next day as the teams had to deal with each other once again in close proximity as the awards ceremony was taking place. I could only laugh about that. Here is a link to the photo album from that week.

The following week, or last week, I had to do my best to get my Youth Arts and Resource Center operational for the Grand Opening Celebration and a visit from U.S. Ambassador. There was a lot of work to be done including putting up all the posters, repainting a few spots, moving furniture, communicating about the ceremony and so on. It was quite the hectic week also because in addition to the celebration, I was planned an after party at my co-worker Siphen’s house that including making a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, carnitas, tortillas, margaritas, sangria, deep fried shrimp, salsa, Mexican rice, black beans, and meatball soup. Thankfully most of the volunteers who lived nearby came up to help cook and to join the celebration so that lightened my load quite a bit. The celebration went well. I am slightly embarrassed because it wasn’t quite Ambassador worthy, but I gave a speech in Khmer and the Ambassador was quite happy to be around my students and the other volunteers. I have assembled a photo album for the YARC project and just posted it, here is the link. You can see where I started with the whole thing and what it became after the hard work of the school and myself. I will also be posting a video of the speech I gave sometime soon, so be on the lookout for that.

Ahead on my busy schedule is to run a second International Women’s Day event in the provincial town. All of the Takeo province volunteers are bringing girls in to enjoy some activities but also to have discussions and to, hopefully, make them more aware of some issues they might possibly face or encounter as women of Cambodia. It is slightly ironic that there are seven volunteers in our province, and six of them happen to be males. Yet, we know we are capable of empowering our female students and that is our goal of the event.

As per usual, I hope everyone is doing well and continuing to lead active and healthy lives. I am quite excited to be going to Bali in late April as I desperately need a break. However, I also know I only have four more months left to work and as it is hard for me to believe, my schedule is filling up quite quickly with things I need or want to do before that time comes. Love you all and miss you all! Take care!

– Ryan

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