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

We Did It!

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Hey Everyone!

So by the title, you might have surmised as to what I could be talking about but I will let this email I received tell the rest of the story:

Hi Ryan,

I am happy to say that your project has indeed been fully funded. We are currently processing the funds and they will be sent out to you in the next few days. Keep in touch with Carol Allbaugh about the receipt of these funds.

Good luck with the project and have a great day!



John Hrivnak

Program Specialist IAP/EMA, Office of Private Sector Initiatives

Peace Corps

As you can tell, we did it! We raised all of the money necessary for the project! I am astonished and happily surprised that we were able to do this all so quickly and I am sure my school is even more grateful to everyone who did contribute in one way or another. All I can really say is “wow” and thank you everyone.

Ok so from here where do we go? I think there are still people who would have liked to donate but no longer can to my project specifically. To that question I have a few different options. First off, the Peace Corps Cambodia program donated around $500 initially to the project, money that came from the Cambodia Country Fund. So if you or someone you know is still interested in donating, that is one path that is close to donating and still receiving the tax deduction. Funds donated to the Country fund would be applied towards future Peace Corps projects in Cambodia, so it’s still for a good cause and in a lot of ways, still supporting my project here.

The second option for people still interested in donating is to support the other Peace Corps Cambodia project currently in need of funds. I am quite close with the couple who are trying to raise funds for a University Preparation Program. Their names are Nate and Jen, and the past two Thanksgiving Days the couple has welcomed all of the volunteers in the southern portion of the country into their home to celebrate. They are also good people and been quite fun to have with my group of volunteers. Again, donations would be tax deductible.

The third option for people looking to donate is to write a donation check and have it sent to my mother, Wendy. This option is for people who aren’t necessarily looking for a tax deduction but want to specifically support me and my project in case there is a need for additional funds. I cannot request more money than I have already raised for the project. Also sometime soon, my counterpart is going to start a small school for poor local children at her house and I could indirectly apply those funds to her needs for that project. However, these choices are not tax deductible.

Next step for me is to open a bank account with my counterpart Siphen so that the money can be transferred and we can begin to do the work. I will also be notifying the school that they can start accumulating the materials that they need so that the project can be successful and the work can start. I will, of course, be taking photographs of the work being done as it progresses for everyone to keep a close watch on.

Thank you again everybody for your hard work and dedication, and towards seeing this vision with me and helping me get it done. Now is the fun part for me so thank you all! Miss y’all!

– Ryan

Categories: Uncategorized

Update and Donate time!

December 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Hello Everybody,

First off I wanted to thank people who have donated to my project. With less than two weeks under our belt, we have been able to raise close to half of the amount necessary. I am pumped! With that said, I think it gets harder from here because donations need to come from outside of my closest circle of influence and contact.I guess what that means is I really need everyone’s help in talking about the project with friends and coworkers and urging them to donate. Small amounts go a long way, I promise.

So now I am motivated to give another “by the numbers” break down for how relative money can be in different parts of the world.

Peace Corps Monthly “Allowance” – $169
Bottle of Water (cold) – 12 cents
Can of Beer – 50 cents
Bike Repair (new tire, new tube, fixed rim, new chain, brake adjustment) – $7.50
Bowl of Noodles, fried – 75 cents
Bus ride to Phnom Penh – $2.50
Bunch of Bananas – 50 cents
One Night at a Guest House (fan) – $5
Baguette – 12 cents
Razor (Mach 3) – $8
Box of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese – $2.75

It is very possible to get by here on less than what I make, but that means missing out on things that make it all worthwhile and help keep us volunteers sane. Speaking of sanity, I still have a fair amount of time left here but will all of the projects, big and small, I want to get done it has been tough to keep in good shape about it and not let it all loom too much over my everyday life. I really don’t want to leave here and feel like I accomplished very little, so those thoughts tend to weigh heavy on my mind frequently these days.

My thanksgiving went down great again, but it was harder being away from family the second time around then the first. The novelty had really worn off. I have posted pictures of the holiday in my Peace Corps Album Two if you care to peruse.

I hope everyone is still doing well. As always I am thinking of everyone constantly. Please take a little extra time to spread the word about my project, and I have created a flyer for people to take to their workplaces for the breakroom area or wherever people gather, to help do so. Print it out and share a couple! I MISS EVERYONE!

PCV Ryan Young

Categories: Uncategorized

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:


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


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