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Two Weeks (and two days) LEFT!

June 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Hey All,

Guess what? I think there will only be one more of my harassment update emails! There is a lot going on in my life here the next two weeks. I am going to start packing up quite soon and begin living out of a backpack one of the next few days here. I think I will have something like three going away parties over the following weeks. Bad news though, I just lost my camera. I was just thinking about how proud I was of myself for keeping track of it for this long, and then I go and leave it on the bus. Anyway, it was fun while it lasted, oh camera of mine.

So the past few weeks have been busy. I have been trying to fulfill promises that I have made to people. I took a student to Phnom Penh with me for a few days. He had never been. I wish I could have gotten better answers from him, but after living on a farm in the countryside of Cambodia for 18 years, I think he was quite tripped out to see this big city he had always heard people talking about. I took photos but.. no more camera. After that, I went and visited my buddy Philip in Battambang. I had been promising him that I would come check out his village before leaving, so I made the trek up there. We spent one night in his village and one night in the provincial town. I really enjoyed doing that and seeing his students and his house. After that we went to Angkor Wat, for the what is likely to be my last time. Angkor Wat is the giant temple complex that Cambodia is famous for, if you didn’t know. Its cool and always a little overwhelming, but I was happy to go again, especially since this time it was for free. Philip had never been before so it was cool to go with him there as well. We ate Mexican food two nights in a row. Yum. Just got back from that trip, one that I am calling the “Lake Lap” since I basically circled the country and the lake that is in the middle of it. Good Times.

It is getting tougher and tougher to prepare myself for the changes that lie ahead of me. I am positive I will be able to handle it all, but it doesn’t mean concerns don’t cross my mind. I know I am coming back to a great group of family and friends and that knowledge is always what puts me at ease. Another volunteer out here with me probably but it best when she said to me that she is more scared of going home than she was of coming out here. Scared probably isnt the best word, but there is definitely some apprehension. Things are going to be different! Yet I am still looking forward to it all so much! I get back on July 13th at 2:20pm people. See most of you shortly after that!

Categories: peace corps

Gettin work done..

March 14, 2011 Leave a comment

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

Categories: peace corps

Overdue!

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Hey Everyone!

It has been quite awhile since my last update and I apologize for that. I have been busy but not that busy, most of it has been because I am doing my best to take advantage of the opportunities to develop friendships with people I work and live with here in the time that I have left. Aside from that, yeah, I have been keeping busy.

February has been a crazy month for me. I am still working to complete my school project, and even that now has a deadline. The office staff from Peace Corps Washington came to visit me in my village (the regional office, so the people in charge of the program in my part of the world) and the Cambodia Country Director also came to visit that day. It was good and they were happy with the work I have been doing, which was nice to hear. Also my Country Director, Jon, suggested that he could invite the U.S. Ambassador to come down for the Grand Opening of my school project, and so far it looks like that is going to happen. The celebration is being held March 12th and its nice to have a deadline to complete all the work. On that same day, a relative of my family got married so I finally fully attended a wedding here, not just dropped by. I had fun and a lot of wildness occurred towards the end as we all tried to consume the remainder of the beer they had bought. However it was a good time.

Aside from the big school project, its also crunch time for my girls basketball team. I took them down the neighboring province, Kampot, for a scrimmage, and I promised them that if they won we would visit the beach afterwards. Well, they won 20-8 (an improvement over last years game, when they lost 2-1) and therefore we all went to the beach to celebrate. I took pictures of the event and it was a blast. They kept trying to drag the smallest girl, who I have given the nickname Tiny, further out into the ocean because she couldnt swim. Needless to say I wound up with her on my back shortly after that. Here are the pictures from that trip. Take a look.

Aside from that, I am just working hard to continue working. I am dreaming about surfing in Bali in less than two months, and cannot wait to be there. Also, that will mean I am that much closer to coming home and being with and seeing the people I miss and love! Hope everyone is well as usual!

– Ryan

Categories: peace corps

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

Please help! DONATE!

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment


Hey Everyone,

I am Ryan Young, a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Cambodia. You
are receiving this email because you are a family member, friend, or
friend of a friend or family member.

Over five months ago, my school administration and I began
planning a large project. They came up to me one day and asked me if
there was any way I could help them revive one of the buildings on
campus. Any way I could help them regain an asset they had lost. We
talked for a while longer and settled on the idea of mutual
fundraising. They would raise some of the funds and I would do my best
to raise the rest of the money to complete the project.

I wrote a proposal and submitted it to the Peace Corps Partnership
Program. This program allows Peace Corps Volunteers to raise funds for
projects in the countries that they are serving through donations from
friends and family members. The proposal has since been approved and
posted on the Peace Corps website.

I have developed an information website to help spread the word
about this project. On the website there are pictures, videos, and
additional information about the project and its implementation, and
also about Cambodia in general.

I am seeking your help through tax deductible donations. I do not
know any single person who can make this project happen, so the best
thing I can do is ask all of the people I know to help me spread the
word. Ideally, my friends and family ( i.e. you) will pass this
request on to your friends and family. Please forward this request to
all of the people you know, even if you suspect they might be unable
to donate. They can still be of help by forwarding this to others.

Please look at the websites related to this project:

Project Website

Donation Website

If you have ANY questions, please send them to me at:

rydiesel@gmail.com

I need everyone’s help because without you this cannot get done! Every
little bit will help! THANK YOU!

– Ryan

Categories: peace corps

New Pics – Check PC Album Two

November 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Everyone!

I added new pics to my Peace Corps Album Two. Over 80 new pictures from Halloween and the stuff with Hillary Clinton. Take a looksee. Bye All.

– Ryan

Categories: peace corps

Recent Events

November 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Hey All,

Been some time since I actually gave an update. Wanted to first give another congratulations to my niece Callie Ann and the proud parents Leslie and Danny. Its still a whiles away but I am looking forward to meeting her for the first time officially come next September.

Lets start off with the most recent and fascinating news. Got to meet/see Hillary Clinton yesterday while she has been passing through the nations of South East Asia. We (Peace Corps Volunteers) got invited to go meet her at the Embassy. She came in and out in a hurry, which was kind of nice actually, gave a speech where she mentioned us (the volunteers) and I got it on video and will be posting that up sometime in the next few days with some pics to go along with it. I was standing close-by after she finished giving a speech and went to shake peoples hands, and then decided to use my long arms to reach over everybody and get a handshake myself. It was cool, I’ll admit it.

Spent our Halloween down here on Rabbit Island, which is a mostly desolate island off the coast of Cambodia. Twenty-one other volunteers showed up and we partied hard. I dressed up like Padres Chris Young, thanks to my mom bringing me a jersey and a hat. Had a lot of fun but only stayed there one night, as there is literally nothing to do on the island. Shortly after headed to Phnom Penh to get my game face on for Hillary.

As for actually working, I have been doing a lot. The school year finally started, after one week of holidays and the another week of teacher testing, they actually held class. Instead of teaching this year I have decided to work more of as a consultant to teacher improvement. I am working to set up a literacy program where all of the English teachers have to bring their classes to the library to do instruction there using the books we have (which is an ample amount for a Cambodian library). That is the primary education related thing I have been doing. All other time is usually spent heckling my girls basketball team. I say heckling because they want to spend the majority of their time playing, and I am a big softy when it comes to them asking to do anything, so I just sit there and comment when they do either good or bad things. They are a lot of fun and it is by far my favorite activity that I do here. Just seeing them run around being the kids they are instead of shy little khmer girls is a great site to see.

Another note, I am still making mistakes in my life. It would be nice if I could stop doing that somehow, or at least cut down on the size of them, but it seems like I have a lot more to make and recently have been dealing with a really tough one. I always get told I am too hard on myself but when I make mistakes like this where I know there is no one to blame but myself, its hard not to be. I am doing my best, obviously, to look forward and learn from such mistake, but that is also a process as well. Maybe one day some of this wisdom I am allegedly accumulating will add up to something, who knows.

Take care everyone. As always, I love you and miss you all, think about home everyday without a doubt.

I will be posting pics and vids soon of these recent events. So keep an eye out and check the blog as well.


PCV Ryan Young

Categories: peace corps